Bug Me Not!
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bug Me Not! is an offbeat blend of music, animation, high school romance, and super powers, in Chinese with English subtitles. The movie may appeal to pre-teens and teens who like their movies quirky and colorful, but don't care much about plot or logic. A few scenes refer to female breasts (or the lack thereof), and there's some coarse language ("horny," "perverts," "flatty") and insults ("dumb," "weirdo"). Mild action includes a few competitive, but comic martial arts moves, a cherished bug in peril, and a short, non-lethal attack on teens by animated insects. Expect some gross-out humor: one boy's super power is offset by his growing very long nose hairs and another pays for his super power by erupting in large puss-filled pimples.
What's the story?
Moon (a sunny Isabella Leong) doesn't quite fit in with her high school peers. But they don't yet know that she has an amazing Ultra Power -- she can talk to bugs! When Moon gets a crush on the cute Hyland (Wilson Chen), who demonstrates and sells silly novelties in front his father's store, she finds out that he doesn't like to be touched. So Moon, with her BFF (an animated bug named Coochie), sets out to win Hyland over, and, at the same time, earn acceptance from the popular girls. Along the way, she meets some other Ultra-powered, misfit kids with X-ray vision, an ability to see into the future, high-jumping skills. They all hang out at Psychic Park -- a fantasy-playground run by Auntie, a pretty young teen who declares that she's 70-years-old. At first Hyland resists Moon, but undaunted, she persists. She confronts ridicule, jealousy, a mob of angry insects, and her mahjong-addicted mom as she attempts to find love and her place in a chaotic world.
Is it any good?
Bug Me Not is a jumble of bright colors, upbeat musical numbers, non-stop flashy editing, special effects, animation, and exaggerated performances. Episodic by design, the story goes in a dozen, mostly comic, directions at once -- jumping erratically from a martial arts competition to an attack by an army of angry cartoon bugs mid-musical number, to a sweet romantic declaration of first love, to recurring shots of a mahjong game, to a tango.
The film is more of a visual and auditory experience than a cohesive story, but still it taps into some of the primary concerns that face teens: acceptance by peers, self-image, emotional ups-and-downs, and the pangs of first love. The highly-stylized confection will find an audience, but it's certainly not for everyone.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Moon's desire to fit in with the other girls. Besides her ability to talk to insects, what made Moon special? What changed the girls' attitude towards her?
Why do you think Hyland didn't want to be touched? How did Moon and his feelings for her help him overcome his fear?
Which of the many different aspects in this movie worked best for you? The romance? The super powers? The cartoon bugs? The music? Do you think the filmmakers were successful in blending all the separate elements?