Written by: Fajar binti Benjamin
Gol dan Gincu Vol.2, 3 words: progressive, fun, heartwarming. This is a reboot of the original Gol dan Gincu TV series and movie from 2005. Originally an enemies-to-lovers romcom somehow involving futsal as a catalyst to the main characters’ relationship growth, Gol dan Gincu was never much of a hit. However, this reboot, switching up the main theme from love to friendship and including a diverse cast of misfits on the futsal team has breathed new life into this franchise.
Set in Help University, this locally produced film is almost entirely in Bahasa Malaysia. Not to worry though, there are English and Mandarin lines patched in for authenticity’s sake and of course, English subtitles running throughout the film. First-time director Umi Salwana Omar takes this seemingly simple premise and turns it into a wonderfully colourful film with editing work that was a pleasure to watch.
The story goes something like this: Yaya, a perky social influencer with a humble background and Zak, a wealthy ‘mean-girl’ from a seemingly broken family end up clashing on the first day of university after Zak cuts the line and Yaya, instead of calling her out on it to her face, uses Twitter to snap a photo and set her fanbase on Zak instead. Immediately Zak is infuriated, escalating the situation into a confrontation that, instead of settling the dispute, sets them up into a hateful relationship that eventually results in them being forced into community service together.
The community service they choose is to help raise funds for a home for ‘troubled girls’. In a wonderful introductory scene we get to see Yaya and Zak walk up to Kak Jijie (played by Syarifah Amani!!! You know! From Sepet?), the owner of the home, before being mobbed by a group of unusual girls. A pregnant teen, a pocket thief, a girl with anger management issues – the list of personalities goes on. Yaya, being the straight-laced ‘good girl’ most of us secretly are (I can hear you protesting, don’t deny it), is shown to be completely out of her element, unsure of how to interact with people she’s been told to stay away from her entire life.
Yaya and Zak’s grand plan for raising funds is to get the girls to win a futsal contest for the RM5000 prize, spurring a series of training montages, comedic slapstick, character and relationship growth, and of course, drama. In the end… well you’ll have to see for yourself, but it did not go the way I expected it.
One thing that really stands out to me is that this film has a very objective view of our two main characters when it easily could’ve taken the route of villianising or belittling one or the other. Yaya, played by the somewhat angelic Ummi Nazeera (who you won’t believe is actually already a mother!) is kind-hearted, patient, positive and hardworking but she’s also quietly vicious, terrified of confrontation and a little clueless when it comes to handling problems, whether they’re her own or others.
Zak, played by Malay-American actress Diana Danielle, at first seems prickly, overly-confrontational, selfish, and a tad bit crazy but she quickly develops to show that confrontational streak to be a strength, especially in contrast to Yaya’s spinelessness. Her selfishness comes from a place of never having had others care for her and she grows to show that she’s actually extremely loving, hardworking, creative, generous, open-minded and an amazing friend to have.
It’s the chemistry between these two and the 3D quality their acting and growth brings to the screen that makes this movie something to write home about.
This movie also has the fact that it’s a really feel-good movie going for it. Aren’t you tired of seeing serious movies that want to make you sad? Yes, there are a few sad moments in the movie, but nothing that tries to constipate you into having some explosive emotional release. For the most part it’s fun, anger, fun, fun, tears, oh – and we’re back to fun.
However, there are still some issues that plague the film, keeping it from being a 10/10.
The movie doesn’t explore the troubled girls much. In some ways this is both a pro and con. On one hand, they never romanticise or endorse the girl’s issues. They are who they are and we need not take out their dirty laundry to accept them. On the other hand, these taboos that surround premarital sex, self esteem, mental health and anger management issues need to be broken at some point, and this movie was perfectly positioned to maybe address some of that. I mean, at one point, a dude even shows up to slut-shame the teen mom and while he gets socked in the face for it, the most that’s ever said about his behaviour is basically “he’s an asshole, ignore it and live your best life”. That being said, perhaps if they had cracked open that can of worms, they wouldn’t have had the screentime to air it out to a satisfactory degree.
Oh, also, I have to give a shoutout to all the sponsors of this movie because damn were there some awkward product placements. Girls don’t actually walk around clutching Libresse pads to their stomach – they’re more likely to look around suspiciously as they sneak the pads from their bag to their pocket. Random scenes in Pizza Hut, the use of Ruang, Grab being the solution to every transportation problem that popped up – I mean. Was this movie built around the adverts or the other way round?
One more complaint, the group of boys running Help’s Vlog team. As a committee member for Echo, I know the struggle of those boys on the Bulletin Campus. Finding material people will actually spend time on? It’s next to impossible! But the cheek of them to exploit and ruin Yaya and Zak’s lives was mind-boggling to me, not to mention most likely illegal!
At the end of the day, this story teaches people a lot about friendship, bravery, loyalty, being open-minded and working hard. It addresses seldom touched issues about what Gen Z is facing today with sudden fame, broken families, a need to prove oneself and the tendency for us to take our conflicts to the virtual world instead of facing them head on. It was funny, beautiful and entertaining as hell. Go watch it in theatres or buy the CD when it comes out, and let us know what you think!!