'Tiga Janda Melawan Dunia': Finally, a well-crafted crowd-pleasing Malaysian comedy

Published date28 May 2022
Publication titleMalay Mail Online

Mainstream Malaysian movies, especially those in Malay, generally have a pretty bad rep among the general public, in particular those living in urban areas.

If I had a ringgit for every time I hear someone say 'I don't watch Malay movies', I'd probably be pretty damn rich by now, and I don't blame them for saying so either.

It might be easy for film buffs to mock people who say this yet have no qualms proclaiming that they love Hollywood crap like White Chicks and The Darkest Hour, but you can't deny that a lot of Malaysian mainstream movies fail to adhere to even the most basic principles of craftsmanship when it comes to filmmaking.

Wooden acting, painfully contrived plotting, bad dialogue and baffling directing choices when it comes to framing shots and editing are things that you very often find in Malaysian mainstream films, and it's things like these that make a lot of people stay away from them.

So it's truly a pleasure when that very rare beast - a well-crafted and crowd-pleasing mainstream Malaysian comedy - arrives out of nowhere and I feel that it is my duty to help spread the word to other film-loving Malaysians out there.

This is to make sure that it makes enough money that the whole industry sits up and takes notice, and hopefully follow in its footsteps by making more mainstream movies that are not only crowd-pleasers, but are also meticulously well-crafted.

That film is Tiga Janda Melawan Dunia, or Three Widows Against The World if you want a rough English translation.

Directed by Hyrul Anuar, a highly respected name in the advertising world and a veteran of directing countless TV commercials making his feature film debut, and co-written by Nazri M. Annuar and Hyrul himself, the film is the second feature film effort from Directors Think Thank, after its highly successful debut Pusaka in 2019, another prime example of how to make a well-crafted mainstream Malay film.

The trailer promised a colourful and highly polished viewing experience, maybe something akin to a feature length TV commercial in terms of technical and production merits, with promising bits of comedy, enough to entice the Malay audience to give it a try in cinemas, but still not enough to elicit confidence whether the jokes will actually land.

I shouldn't have worried, because Tiga Janda Melawan Dunia is very likely going to be one of the funniest films you'll see this year, Malaysian or not, as the jokes fly left, right and centre, and very, very few of them will fail to tickle...

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