Mama’s Affair has made headlines for being the acting debut of Keung To and Jer Lau, members of Cantopop boyband MIRROR. They are directed by Kearen Pang, a popular Hong Kong multi-hyphenate artist who was a part of the show on which the band was discovered. But despite its pop-culture credentials, it’s the veteran star of this light comedy who proves to be the biggest draw.
Best known to Western audiences from her performance in 90s classic Hard Boiled, Teresa Mo plays Mei-fung, a former record company exec who left her career to raise her son Jonathan (Jer Lau). With the boy now in his late teens, she steps back into the entertainment world, taking a job at a children’s performing arts school. It’s here she unearths a new star (Keung To), but this second chance of success puts her at odds with Jonathan’s secret aspirations.
Clearly engineered to appeal to the fans of the musicians, there are some broadly funny moments in the arts school, such as a mother and son arguing over whether he has the right body for breakdancing. This keeps things ticking over, although there are moments where it’s clear the plot sacrifices deeper themes to focus on the music.
Pang has a lot of interesting ideas, all of which make the final cut, resulting in a crowded script in which much ends up unresolved. Thank goodness, then, for Teresa Mo, who crafts a journey for her character in spite of the visual distractions. In a film that can sometimes feel like a music video, she makes Mei-fung a rounded character whose goals matter to the audience.
While not a classic of Hong Kong cinema, Mama’s Affair does just enough to keep both sides of the age gap entertained, with warm family values moving in sync with pop hits.