Jump * *

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Director:  Stephen Fung

Writers: Stephen Fung and Tsang Kan-Cheung, based on an original story by Stephen Chow

Cast: Kitty Zhang, Leon Jay Williams

Running Length: 87 minutes

Opens:  14 January 2010

Synopsis: A young village girl by the name of Phoenix (Kitty Zhang) leaves for the big city to pursue her dreams to become a dancer, but reality bites and she almost loses hope of ever fulfilling her ambitions. That is, until she becomes a part-time cleaner at a dance school, and sparks fly between Phoenix and Ron (Singapore’s own Leon Jay Williams), the wealthy and handsome playboy owner of the school.

Jump, like 99% of romantic comedies out there, brings nothing new to the table, and in this case the chemistry between Kitty Zhang and Leon Jay Williams (who was brought in to replace Edison Chen following his sex scandal) isn’t even particularly strong. However, what manages to save the movie is Kitty Zhang’s spirited performance, which is so earnest that one can’t help but root for her success.

Although Stephen Chow is credited as simply providing the original story of which the screenplay is based on, there seems to be more than a fair share of “Chow-isms” in the film, which most memorably includes a really zany musical number at the beginning, and the running gag of a transgendered village “girl” who can’t seem to stop scratching her own boobs. The humour in Jump tends towards the lowbrow, but I find it’s entertaining enough to warrant some laughs (especially if you’re a fan of Stephen Chow’s brand of humour).

What I also appreciated was that the “believe in yourself” message that Jump carries is delivered with some modicum of finesse, unlike many Asian films that love to make it as blatant and blunt as possible (yes I’m looking at you, Jack Neo). Once again it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before, but at least Stephen Fung doesn’t try to smack audiences senseless with the message.

Unfortunately, the central theme of the movie is also the film’s weakest aspect. The dancing, I’m sad to say, ranges from average to plain bad. Kitty Zhang purported learned to dance specifically for her role but her moves come across as being rather stilted and unnatural. It doesn’t help that her stand-in is painfully easy to spot even in the shortest of scenes. Even the final showdown lacks the visual punch of typical dance movie finales, and the overly rapid editing used in the finale does not help at all.

Jump is a relatively decent comedy that is almost an even mix of hits and misses, and whilst it’s by no means a great movie, it isn’t entirely a waste of time either, unlike many Asian releases of late.

Rating: * * (out of four stars)

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