After major blockbusters like The Journey and OlaBola, both of which rank in the top six highest grossing local movies of all time, it’s easy to forget that director Chiu Keng Guan started his career with movies like WooHoo! and Great Day.
Despite the title, Think Big Big is a hark back to those smaller, more intimate movies.
The story revolves around Moon (Moon Yoong) a confident plus-size girl who is happy and content with her job as a mascot at a theme park, and loves nothing more than hanging out with her group of friends, comprising Vivian (Vivienne Oon), Ice (Ruby Yap), Qi Qi (Keigrey Kam) and Ah Seng (Fabian Loo).
One day, she gets into an accident which lands her in a ton of debt, and to pay it, she agrees to join a weight-losing competition.
Following the competition, Moon becomes a popular social media celebrity, and starts to lose her way, alienating her friends and family in the process.
The movie also stars Miss Astro Chinese International Pageant 2016 Serene Lim and newcomer Joanne Lau.
The first thing you’ll notice about Think Big Big is how Malaysian it all seems. It’s not just the fact that most of the scenes are set in Sunway Lagoon in Petaling Jaya or Bukit Pelanduk in Johor. It’s also in the way the characters talk to each other – most of the dialogue may be in Mandarin, but it’s a very Malaysianised version of Mandarin.
Heck, it’s impossible to imagine this movie being set anywhere else but in Malaysia. Then again, Chiu’s movies have always had a very Malaysian feel to them.
But where The Journey and OlaBola went big and took their Malaysian elements nationwide, Think Big Big goes small instead, narrowing its scope and focusing on a small group of friends.
This gives the movie a more intimate and personal feel, and allows us to connect with the characters better, especially when Moon begins her journey from rock bottom to social media star.
The leaner approach probably also helped the cast of relative newcomers, to deliver what Chiu wants. Lim and Lau give solid performances in their respective roles, but the standout for me has to be Yoong, who shines as Moon.
Like his previous films, Chiu also manages to insert several moral messages in his story, from the main theme of “being yourself”, a warning about overly obsessed with the attention one gets from social media, and the importance of family and friends.
There’s even time for a sweet little love story between Moon and Ah Seng, which makes this as perfect for Valentine’s Day as it is for Chinese New Year.
In a recent interview, Chiu said he made Think Big Big as a way to recharge his batteries after making the energy-sapping OlaBola, and that his next project will be another major production.
Well, Think Big Big may not be his idea of a big production, but it’s certainly one that is big on heart.
Think Big Big
Director: Chiu Keng Guan
Cast: Serene Lim, Moon Yoong, Joanne Lau, Vivienne Oon, Fabian Loo, Ruby Yap, Keigrey Kam.