No Good Either Way <衝呀！瘦薪兵團>
Hong Kong TVB Drama 2012
Producer: Amy Wong
Genre: Office Comedy
Number of episodes: 21
Ruco Chan as “Alex Mo”
Louis Yuen as “Steve Man”
Kristal Tin as “Ling”
Jason Chan as “Aaron Yiu”
Gill Mohindepaul Singh as “Interpal Singh”
Leanne Li as “Dr. Flora Shum”
Natalie Tong as “Kin”
Florence Kwok as “Violet Che”
Stephen Au as “Sam Ko”
Matt Yeung as “Jacky Ho”
A Very Brief Review
No Good Either Way is actually 21 episodes instead of 20 episodes and I like the ending. It is hopeful in its own way. I was so busy thinking who will end up with who but this series is beyond that. It isn’t about who ends up with who but rather what actually happens to them. Goaltech company is saved as all 500 employees agree to delay their salary by 20 days so that Alex can fix the corrupted ES system. This is because they like Mr. Ko who has my vote as the most understanding boss and husband ever. I really like his happy ending with his Thai wife. Interpal doesn’t end up with Man’s sister. I actually thought he would but he ends up as her business partner, finally finding a career he can show to his mom proudly. Man doesn’t end up with the doctor but they became friends but he did get to be his Sales Manager, so good for him! Alex and Ling remain happily married. Violet, Kan, Aaron and Ko’s business partner were arrested and charged and I assume Aaron got 1 year imprisonment because 1 year later he is delivering pizza, having learned his lesson. My biggest disappointment is Kin doesn’t end up with Ho Jing Jik because I really want them to end up together. Instead she decided to take it slow and the ending seems to suggest things are not over between her and Aaron. What?! No! No! Let them be over. I really like Ho Jing Jik.
Seriously the last episode was really funny, that scene where everybody ended up at Violet’s apartment. That is some witty writing there. And whilst I still think this will work better as a half hour sitcom, but as a series I enjoy the chemistry the cast has with one another.
I never liked Kristal Tin but in here I really appreciate her performance as the simple minded Ling. I think her subtle performance was so elegant, her face very expressive and she has this amazing chemistry with Ruco Chan, their hugs, kisses, all very very believable.
I am even quite impressed with Natalie Tong whose start of career reminds me of Raymond Lam of the past, that OTT dramatic reaction to absolutely everything. She doesn’t need to be funny in here so thankfully, nothing forced. She did most scene well, toning down her OTT reaction although frankly her role in light of others are lesser so focus is lesser and so I was able to enjoy her performance.
Louis Yuen proves himself funny in one particular scene where he had to agree, deny and avoid all in succession as he was confronted by Kristal’s Ling. That scene reminded me so much of Power Chan and his comic timing in.. what was that series with Charmaine and Dayo again? That classic scene. I am also glad this series doesn’t force some romance on him.
Stephen Au was fantastic as the kind caring boss and there is a sincerity in his performance as Mr Ko. When Alex was being difficult, and Alex has his reasons, I felt Alex was being such a petulant child as against a much pressured Mr Ko. Stephen Au really showed his gentleness in this performance which to me is one of his best.
Never liked Matt Yeung but I ended up liking him. It just shows the right role will do wonders to change the perception of viewers.
Florence Kwok’s Violet may be a silly character but I can’t fault Florence’s great performance as the ultimate office bitch.
I finally found out Interpal is Gill Mohindepaul Singh and this man deserves all the praises. Not that I want to see him shirtless (oh so hairy!!) and his character is silly; most of the time the trio find themselves in impossible stupid situation because of Interpal but Gill Mohindepaul Singh played his character with sincerity and the idea that an Indian can speak such good cantonese never gets old. This is one of the best aspect of this series and quite an eye opener, so many Indian actors who can speak perfect cantonese. In fact I suspect they’re better at Cantonese than Hindi because their Hindi sounds like gibberish. Maybe they speak Tamil? Urdu?
Even Leanne Li with her limited role manage to impress upon me with her winning smile and cheerful disposition.
Ruco Chan impresses me as well. He can be funny but he can also play angry. However I feel at some scenes he was holding himself back when he didn’t quite shout, and yet not quite whispering. However in retrospect it is because Alex is an educated man, who doesn’t stoop so low as to shout as his wife even if he says hurtful things. So again I appreciate his subtlety. He doesn’t look cunning evil thanks to his curly hair and glasses and I must mention again I love his chemistry with his co-stars, such as Louis Yuen and of course Kristal Tin.
Cheng Chi Seng (does he have English name?) also impresses as the devious minority shareholder of Goaltech. This guy can act. With the same look, he can play a devious guy or a really nice guy. That is what I called versatility.
The one I am disappointed with is Jason Chan. But he is given an impossible role; a character that just disgusts you till no end with the words he used against Kin. In that respect he played his role well but you can see he is very very very raw. I am doubtful if he can lead a series. He should stay the secondary actor for some time to observe and learn rather than being pushed into the limelight. If I feel Natalie Tong is too dramatic in her delivery of her lines, Jason reminds me of Selena Li who is fluffy. I don’t like how his words are never strong enough. What I mean is look at Ruco; every word he delivers has conviction. He believes in his dialogue, his lines and you can hear his pronunciation, crisp and clear. Jason seems unsure. Given time he will be a better actor but right now I just find him wholly inadequate.
A sidenote. Leanne’s doctor boyfriend is William Chak? Didn’t know! No comment on his performance since he had so few scenes but since I didn’t find anything glaringly obvious, I will say a job well done then.
Overall this is an amazingly witty series. Yes some situations are impossible, some even downright stupid. But concentrate on the characters and performances, ignore the situations. This is a character driven series and for me the writing is tight and the performances for the most part are above the usual standard fare. And I like the ending. It is not typical in its own weird way. For me this series is enjoyable because it chooses to be quirky. It is a funny interesting quirky series and if you can ignore some major plot holes, I believe this is the series for you. Fans of Ruco, Kristal and Natalie will want to watch this to see their favourite stars shine.
This review is written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at Point2e.com.