review by Seraph

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Love the song, but the movie is another matter!
Joe Ma once again gives us a low-key Drama/Comedy starring Charlene Choi, Nikki Chow, Shawn Yu and Jordan Chan. While initially Diva ah Hey seems almost like a fun poke at the record industry (the fact that it stars one half of Twins, probably the biggest Canto-Pop sensations around only adds to the Irony) the movie actually may be more subtle than most people will expect, it's clever and fairly realistic in it's depiction of life in the music industry. It's not all happy and goes out of it's way to show how many sacrifices you must sometimes make to achieve your dreams. Ah Hey may not be quite ready for the hardships of life on her own and fame.

Kam Dai Hey (Charlene Choi) dreams of becoming the next big singing star/Idol. So when her father (Lam Suet, in what seems like his 50th cameo of the year) gets her the opportunity to meet with record boss Harry (The excellent Jordan Chan), she is excited to say the least. When it seems that the only position Harry has available is that of a Nanny (Effectively no more than a glorified tea girl) for up and coming star Shadow (Nikki Chow) she grudgingly accepts. At an evening in a recording studio it becomes painfully obvious that Shadow can't really sing and as a desperate measure ah Hey gives it a try herself. Her voice is good and the track is recorded successfully, which surprises everyone. Harry tells ah Hey that the record company would like her to sing an entire album. There is a catch, however... The album will be Shadow's. Ah Hey will get no credit for singing even if she does all the work. With hope in her heart and optimism beyond measure she decides to do it. This is, after all, her dream. But will it prove too much?

Joe Ma doesn't make bad movies. Granted, some may be more interesting than others but they are all directed well and usually acted to a high standard. For me, this effort sits nearer the better end. Charlene Choi, while still acting insufferably cute shows she has something a little more. Her performance has been reigned in a little more than in say, 'Protégé De La Rose Noire' or 'Summer Breeze of Love', and you can believe in and emphasise with her character. Even if it seems like a strange choice Jordan Chan is actually quite believable as the record manager. The scenes between him and Charlene are the better written and the chemistry between them is handled well. The only part of Jordan's story that drags a little is his interaction with his ex-wife 'Icy' who is herself a big star. For some reason this part just fell flat in terms of interest and didn't really need to be in the movie.

The other half of the film or the B-plot if you like, is more in the romance/comedy vein and focuses on Shawn Yu's lowly chauffeur and Nikki Chow's rising star's attempts to find romance. While this part of the movie doesn't have much to do with Charlene's story and although it isn't as interesting it still gives a nice break from the main plot, and the acting from both is neither awkward or over the top. The part where Shawn is trying to win Nikki the 'Poo' bear by spinning the machine in the arcade is very cute. It's small moments like this that make this part of the story work and are always used by Joe Ma.

As I said before, Joe Ma's direction is always good and this is no exception. The only complaint I have is in the music. The insistence of having Charlene Choi perform the same song at least four times in the movie can make it seem quite repetitive (although this could have been mainly because of EMG as they may not have given the director the opportunity to use any other Twins music). Having said this the original score for the movie is above average especially for a film of this genre.

Overall, although this film will be a hit with all fans of Twins. and in particular Charlene, I feel that it will also appeal to others who did not like the mad-cap antics of some of Charlene's sillier films. This film tends to be less silly and more of a drama, it will probably also appeal to those who are in the position of Charlene's character and hoping for a career in the music industry as it shows some events that may occur in a realistic way. It is also one of those films that shows that Charlene can act more than just cute and there may be some hidden acting potential within her.

A little something for the fact fans here: The Song/Alternate Movie title 'Next Station Tin Hau' sung by Charlene is from Twins' 'Touch Of Love' album. Tin Hau is a place on Hong Kong Island, the name means Sky Queen/Diva. Daimuru Fashion Square (Which Charlene signs about in the song) is in Causeway Bay, on the train that's one stop from Tin Hau.

Oh, and Jordan Chan's Kylie impression is very amusing!!!

I rate it 7/10

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Product Title : Diva Ah Hey
Artist Name(s) : Charlene Choi| Jordan Chan| Shawn Yue| Niki Chow
Language : Cantonese| Mandarin
Duration : 98 minutes
Reviewed by Seraph (Paul) - November 2004