Earlier this week, I finally got around to watching CJ7, and thought it was worthy of a blog--mostly because no one else is talking about it. Stephen Chow is one of the most original writers/directors in cinema today in my opinion, but he is also pretty unknown to most of the United States. Most people stateside only know him for Kung Fu Hustle and perhaps Shaolin Soccer, which is a shame, because he has so many other movies.
CJ7 came out last summer (2008), and received average reviews. It made less then $300,000 in the United States, but over $40,000,000 overseas (mostly Asia), which just shows how big Chow is elsewhere. This was mostly because only 30 movies in the U.S. bothered to show the movie. I'm not going to say it was one of the best movies I've seen in awhile, but it was certainly better then a lot of other movies that got much bigger releases, and it deserved far more coverage.
I think part of the problem with the movie is it was a PG family flick, and Hollywood figures kids are too dumb to want to see a movie from another country even if it's dubbed (perhaps they are right?). But the little furry star of the movie, CJ7, would have got any kid interested because he is so darn cute.
The movie is about a poor father who is trying to raise his son to be virtuous; his son is a bit of a misfit, and is always getting into trouble. One night, his father discovers an alien critter in the trash and takes it home to his son as a toy. Throughout the course of the movie, the father and son form a bond in part because of the foreign creature.
The movies plot is zany and weird, but that's sort of Chow's style. It didn't have the humor of his best movie, Shaolin Soccer (if you haven't seen it, then do yourself a favor and rent it), but it was nonetheless sweet and worthy of more attention then it got.
It also left my wife and I wondering where we can get a CJ7; they are way better then dogs!