Stephen Chow returns and once again it is in the position of director rather than lead star. He does, however, continue to bring new talent through with his films and ‘The Mermaid’ offers the chance for the adorable. Jelly Lin to follow in the footsteps of Cecilia Cheung and Vicki Zhao.
The Mermaid opens with a gag sequence that seems irrelevant to the film’s story but whose irreverent humor is expected from a Stephen Chow comedy (Phim Chau Tinh Tri).
In a run-down hovel that also functions as a sham museum of nature’s oddities, an enterprising scam artist lazily tours a horde of disinterested kids through his collection of freaks. Of course, everything’s fake. The dinosaur’s a petrified gecko. The saber-toothed tiger’s a dressed-up pet dog. The mermaid’s anything but beautiful and alluring. In this China, people are poor, desperate, and willing to do everything for a buck.
The comedy (Review Phim) cleverly cuts to where the story begins, inside a luxurious bidding hall where Liu Xuan (Chao Deng) has just bought a pristine cove that he plans to reclaim for his real estate empire.
To celebrate his win, he throws a party at his mansion. As opposed to the opening scene, the next sequences expose the grossly ostentatious lifestyle of the upper crust. Guests arrive in sports cars, rare vintage vehicles, and jetpacks. Beautiful women crowd the pool area. This is also China – where some are rich, wasteful, and willing to do everything for more bucks.
The Mermaid (My Nhan Ngu) is a modern-day parable about the dangers of exploiting the environment.