Review: No Good Either Way (TVB, 2012)

No Good Either Way (衝呀!瘦薪兵團)
Genre: Comedy Drama
Length: 21 episodes
Producer: Amy Wong

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

The Cast

Ruco Chan as Alex
Louis Yuen as Steve
Krystal Tin as Ling
Natalie Tong as Kin
Jason Chan as Aaron
Florence Kwok as Violet
Stephen Au as Sam

and Matt Yeung, Cheng Chi Seng, Celine Ma, Glen Lee, Meini Cheung, Raymond Chiu, Katy Kung, etc.

The Review

At first, I didn’t even think this series was worth reviewing with it being one of TVB’s cheesiest storylines with its re-used plots, and the scriptwriters wanting to strip us of even the comedic relief aspect of it. Amy Wong’s productions were never the best among TVB scriptwriters, neither did it have the most intricate characterizations or the most detailed and original plot lines. But that’s fine sometimes. There are only so many original plot lines that scriptwriters can come up with. It’s true that the best writers should come up with novel story plots, but it’s not the end of the world if they don’t. Sometimes we can’t expect (and if you’re having all these high expectations for them, that’s the cause of your heartache) TVB to always please us with creative masterpieces, but at the least, don’t give us a comedy with a dip of frustration in almost every episode and a main character who is immature enough to act off of his emotional impulses in a professional work setting. Ruco ends up not doing very much for the series.

The series claimed that it would focus on the struggles of the working class people. Being a worker myself too, I initially believed that this series was relatable to most people without realizing that it was filmed as a comedy. I was wrong. The driving force was Florence who did everything she can to give Ruco and his friends a hard time — and who knows what for, since she was already in the position of Controller and was overseeing the research and development department already — and later, Cheng Chi Seng who became the biggest obstacle for Goal Tech. And the same question remains, why did he have to do all that? If he had all the money to rescue a broken Goal Tech, why wouldn’t he just establish his own company? Take these two so-called villains away, Goal Tech’s workers live happily ever after, which means no more struggles and no purpose for the series.

The use of “the struggles of the working class people” as a plot device reminds me of L’Escargot’s (缺宅男女) theme: the struggles of HK citizens to have their own place due to the ceiling prices of HK apartments. I didn’t enjoy L’Escargot despite it being a (frustrated) depiction of HK reality, but when the two are being compared side-by-side, it makes No Good really no good at all.

A waste of actors. A waste of film. A waste of time.

Main plot aside, I’m not even sure if I want to go into the romantic (or lack of romanticism) subplots. I didn’t have much high hopes for remarkable or/and idol-worthy (hehe!) chemistry between Ruco and Krystal. Both are great actors and actresses on their own, but are not who you would call super-duper cute together. This, besides being an age factor, is also their fault as they carry themselves in a much more mature manner. I still think Krystal’s best co-star was Stephen in Be Home For Dinner (誰家灶頭無煙火) and for a moment, I thought there would be a triangle between Ruco, Krystal, and Stephen because the latter’s wife was in a coma for almost as long as the series was airing. Which I thought was fine too because triangles involve messy feelings, which the series have already generated enough of at that point in time.

Now onto Natalie and Jason, whom I didn’t expect would play a petty liar who had a desire to splurge on designer items. It still baffles me why it took Natalie until almost the last episode to realize their incompatibility. She could have been as aggressive to put off their relationship as she was about her work. Why didn’t her underlying aggressive instincts toward work transferred over to her relationships?

This series has one of the least likable characterizations in a while. Florence was in your face in almost every scene, but we can’t deny that she is a wonderful actress. So glad to see her back in Come Home Love. Jason’s true colors was turned on soon and playing a petty character, his poor speaking skills was even more noticeable. Ruco and Louis’s actions turned me off at one point or another. My likeability for Krystal’s character maintained throughout, but neither was there anything praise-worthy of Ling. Natalie was her usual self.

Well then, who’s good? Surprisingly, the characters I cared most for this time were Interpal played by TVB’s usual go-to Indian dude, Meini Cheung who played Louis’s love-lorn sister, Matt Yeung who played Natalie’s straightforward and nerdy boss, and Glen Lee who was the most loyal of A4. It’s nice to see Matt in more dramas these days although his acting was limited here; I enjoyed his performance in Master of Play (心戰). Glen is also an able actor who can transform into a variety of roles. It was a coincidence how he was in all of TVB’s airing dramas a few weeks ago.

Overall Appraisal

Story… clichéd and over-used. Acting… it’s good, but as the usual formula goes, “good acting cannot save a bad script.” Characterization… horrible.

Final Verdict

Do not watch, better to save your time.

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