Already a popular success in Asia, Stephen Chow's CJ7 arrives in the US, hailed as a Chinese version of ET. (It opens today in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco before expanding to other cities in the coming weeks.) Like its predecessor, CJ7 features a young boy who befriends a small alien creature, from whom the boy learns important life lessons. Instead of ET's Elliott, living in the lonely suburbs and pining for his father's return to patch up his divorced family, CJ7 features Dicky Chow (Xu Jiao), living in abject poverty and wishing that his widowed father had enough money to buy him a toy. But don't worry about the differences in the set-up: CJ7 is a gentle and sentimental fantasy, just like ET, filled to the brim with humor. It also casts a sharp eye on the true nature of modern children.
Poor Dicky Chow! The young lad doesn't mind so much going to school with dirt on his face. He doesn't mind so much that his mother is dead and his father can barely provide for the two of them. But what he does mind is when the other kids make fun of his dad. And, what finally sets him off is when he realizes that he can't have the same toy as the other boys in school.