Writer: Syahida KamarudinWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects:
NACinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Salon" and "Because I Said So".
Romantic comedy. It's one of the most loved genres in Malaysia, despite only a fifth of such movies that really work. Joining the 'masters' of these genres in the likes of Aziz M.Osman and... well... Aziz M.Osman is Saw Teong Hin, last seen with the historical epic "Puteri Gunung Ledang" that won him the 'Best Director' award at the 2006 Malaysian Film Festival. This change of pace seems to be one of the main reasons people are eager to see "Apa Kata Hati".
It begins with two lovers - Elly (Raja Farah) and Aidil (Farid Kamil). Like any young couple madly in love symbolising their passion in the tackiest fashion, the KLCC twin tower signifies Elly and Aidil's love for each other. However, Aidil's hesitation to propose to Elly plus influence from her best friend Linda makes her doubt his loyalty, and Elly decides to seek a bomoh for answers. Instead, she acquires the power to read men's thoughts, albeit only within a five-foot range. With her recently acquired power, she explores new romantic interests but soon discovers that her ability is as much a curse as it is a gift.
It started out appealing. The opening credits were done in a creative fashion, similar to the ones seen in 'Catch Me If You Can' but with a girly flavour, unlike most bland openings where they show you streets and more streets. Then audiences were introduced to sweet bubbly Elly as she wonders why there are too many songs about heartbreaks, her dramatic mum (played by Ogy Ahmad Daud) and the typical clueless dad (Harun Salim Bachik), her over-the-top best friend and model Linda (Dynaz Mokhtar), her boss and co-workers and of course, the beloved Aidil. It's all fun in the sun.
However, as the movie progresses, it starts to get a bit dreary. Audiences are left wondering where the climax is, the 'IT' thing that a rom-com should have. And certain parts that supposedly move the story seemed unconvincing. Like for one, Elly who is very trusting of her boyfriend, even when she saw his client openly flirt with him, suddenly goes berserk due to a 'misinterpretation' of his thoughts. If the 'thought' were trickier (as in can be interpreted in multiple ways) it would be believable for her to run amok. But the scriptwriters failed with this and so every time Elly hears men's thoughts and misinterprets it, it just makes her look dumb rather than bedazzled. And although it seems that a gift for hearing men's thoughts is considered impossible or insane by normal circumstances, in this film her best friend seemed easily persuaded by it through only one unconvincing 'hearing' test.
The special attraction of the movie is its cameo appearances made by more than a dozen famous stars, from Rosyam Nor hosting his Model Insan program to flirty client Sofia Jane, to the shortest but most memorable cameo by a sleep-faking Adlin Aman Ramli reminiscent to his selfish character in the 'Kempen Budi Bahasa' ad, to the longest but most unnecessary appearance of Umie Aida as a young Datin that kind of detached from the overall plot and seemed like a piece of spam that you wish you could delete rather than an asset to the movie. Then you have the weird characters like an effeminate Awie and AC Mizal as the bomoh with a systematic bank-like service.
What I can say about Raja Farah is that not much has improved from her first venture into showbiz. As the sweet naive Elly, at times she could be too saccharine sweet that you'd rather she turned into a candy cane. It was a rocky road, as sometimes she gets it and delivers brilliantly but at times she tends to overdo it. Nothing much can be said of Farid Kamil - fresh from the meatier role in Anak Halal - as Aidil is a linear part with no character development whatsoever. After a 14-year hiatus from filmmaking, Ogy's back with a vengeance, playing a drama mama like a drama queen should. But the one character that attracts the audience and makes them roar with laughter is Linda, played by Dynaz Mokhtar. Sure, we have seen her play a similar role before, but as Linda, the heavily made-up designer-friendly husband-magnet fashionista, she deserves much credit. Without her by the lead's side, it would just be an insipid Elly's love drama. She manages to be over the top without being exaggerated and every so often it feels like her character is more interesting than any other especially when delivering her funny dumb-blonde one-liners.
Saw Teong Hin manages to capture the romcom sense nicely, making it a feel good experience. The whole idea of reading men's thoughts - although not new in Hollywood - is a fresh one locally. It was executed well, but if the scripts were more convincing and less tacky, this movie would have come closer to perfection. But if you're not convinced with what my heart says, you can always listen to yours and enjoy.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008