Ice Kacang Puppy Love

Ice Kacang Puppy Love, taiwan-based Malaysian Ah Niu's directorial debut, is a heartwarming film that promises to bring back memories of the recent past of traditional coffee shops and childhood games. The celebrated cast includes Malaysian artists Lee Shin Jie (best actress for The Eye (2005)), Fish Leong, Eric Moo, Angela Chan, Yi Jet Qi, Gary Chaw, Victor Wong and of course, Ah Niu himself.

As its name suggests, Ice Kacang Puppy Love chronicles the first loves of the characters in the film, especially of the main characters of timid and quiet Botak (Bald head played by Ah Niu) and Da Jia Yu (Fighting Fish starring Lee Shin Jie). The contrast between the two of them is great. He is successor to his father's traditional coffee shop but incapable of making a good cup of coffee and often pushed around by others, while she is a strong-willed, feisty girl who stands up for herself.

A group of hilarious supporting cast enters from here: Son of local bookie and resident bully, Ma Lin Fan (Gary Chaw) dons an Aaron Kwok hairstyle - or so he thinks - often challenges Da Jia Yu to marble-shooting competitions and fish fights. His sister, Ma Lin Bing (Fish Leong) who is constantly sipping iced barley develops a crush on Botak. Next, enters goosebump-raising bespectacled son of charcoal seller and aspiring singer Prince Charming (Victor Wong) as well as love interest of Botak's overweight sister (Lim Ching Miau).

While some might find the movie too slow paced for comfort, Ah Niu allows each subplot enough time and space to develop, well avoiding the touch-and-go approach. Despite the minimal dialogue and abstract shots, he was also able to draw out the emotions of each character. I particularly loved the interesting camera angle from the point of view of a puddle looking up to Da Jia Yu and Botak, and the touch of realism with the bittersweet ending.

My opinion? One of the best Malaysian films I've seen and definitely one not to be missed.

Related links: Ice Kacang Puppy Love official site

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