I have never watched any of Jack Neo's films before, nor paid much attention to them.
But after watching I Not Stupid on OktoNITE with E last night, I am pleasantly surprised and suitably impressed in so many ways.
Actually, if E had shown less interest throughout the film last night or hinted any wish to switch channels, I don't think I would have watched it through either because I was under the impression that this film (maybe I was misled by the title) is really just one of those money-making productions to appeal to the heartlanders.
Surprisingly, E watched the whole film without uttering much. Usually he can't stand the local productions, not because they are locally made but more because of the quality of the cast and/or predictable story-telling. Ok, he couldn't stand Selena Tan, or was it the character that she was casted in? Hmm....
I am pleased that he watched it though. Despite living here for close to a decade, he is, after all, from a different culture and I do think it takes more than just time in a country for one to truly appreciate its culture and what makes Singapore and Singaporeans unique. That said, he is rather clairvoyant. The film may not be as tasteful as some of the arty films I like on OktoNITE, but it reflects the Singapore culture well enough, especially the few aspects that are discussed/portrayed in the film.
I didn't know (until I read from Wikipedia) that the film was inspired by the wonderful, fabulous, beautiful and inspiring Iranian film Children of Heaven! (This has been pointed out by a reader as inaccurate.) I had watched it in the Cathay Picturehouse before and remember it as the first film that truly touched my soul and made my cry buckets in the cinema.
I Not Stupid has brought back some memories of the time when a few people I know were placed in the EM3 and the stigma associated with it. I also wasn't aware before that this film sparked parliamentary debates which subsequently abolished the EM3 stream. Now, that's meaningful.