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I saw a live-action Chinese-language (Mandarin, I assume) movie with English subtitles while on a plane in China in June 2010. It was about an alien who appeared as a Chinese boy (perhaps around 10 years old) who had the ability to grant wishes. The tone was generally lighthearted.

The other main character was a single dad who was raising this boy, but didn't know that he was an alien. I think that he got the boy in some incident tied to his deceased wife (it might have been that they wished for a child, and a spaceship came out of the sky right afterwards), but I'm a little fuzzy on this and am not sure if I might be conflating that with another story.

The first clue the dad got that his child wasn't normal was when they are in a restaurant and the boy asks his father what he wishes for. He doesn't take it seriously and says that he wishes for a lot of money. The boy then grants his wish (with a physical gesture and sound effect, I believe) and a high-class waiter comes to their table with a silver platter upon which there was money of various currencies.

I recall that the waiter described the money as one would describe food, something along the lines of "fresh Yuan, Euro à la mode, Pounds benedict", etc. Unfortunately, the father mysteriously coming into possession of all this money wound up getting him into trouble with the law who thought he stole it, but this was eventually resolved.

There is also a subplot with the boy having a female teacher who the boy tried to set up with his father. I can't remember if he had some personal motivation for this, like wanting to have both a mother and a father or if he just wanted his father to be happy.

In a later scene, the boy and the father went to a place where new houses were being promoted. The sales person was a large man who made claims like "it's a fifteen minute drive to Tiananmen Square". The boy says "tell the truth!" (with a camera zoom in on his face and a distorted voice to indicate that he is using his powers) and then the man starts spasming as he's uncontrollably saying the truth to his claims (like it's only 15 minutes away if you drive 200 km/h and there is no traffic, i.e. never).

The salesman was humiliated by the events and somehow finds out that the boy has the ability to grant wishes. I think he had ties to organized crime as well, and has a mook or two who are comedically incompetent. He kidnaps the boy and tries to force him to make a wish (I recall that one of the mooks makes a silly wish too, something like wanting a puppy). I think he held someone hostage, probably the teacher, and threatened to hurt them if the boy didn't grant his wish. He does, but this means he can no longer grant wishes because he did it for someone bad, and the boy knows this.

I think that scene took place at a toy store and the father came to rescue him, and there were a lot of hijinks that ensued with trying to get the boy to safety.

Because the boy had broken the rules and granted a wish to a bad man, he had to go back to the aliens. I think that also he didn't believe that his father loved him any more.

A spaceship appears to take him back and he starts going up through its tractor beam or something. This is the first time that we see him as a CGI non-human alien and I recall that he looked somewhat like a Pikmin. Before he arrived on the ship, his father told him he loved him (and I think there may have been something to do with the spirit of the dead wife in there somewhere).

In the end, the boy is allowed to remain on earth, so he goes back down from the tractor beam and morphs back into a Chinese boy. He lives happily ever after, and I think that it was implied that the teacher and the father were falling in love with each other.

  • If it was on a flight in China, good luck ever finding it again... sorry (I should be more equipped to knowing this, but 2010 was a while ago, I can’t recall such a film myself) – Edlothiad Feb 3 '18 at 0:34
  • @Edlothiad I’ve been astounded at the things people on this site are able to identify, so I’m optimistic that eventually someone will be able to identify this film, even if it takes a long time. – Thunderforge Feb 3 '18 at 0:38
  • This is just a longshot, but could it by any chance be en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CJ7 ? I see some similarity to Pikmin, but the plot doesn't line up all that well. – TakeruDavis Feb 7 '18 at 3:39
  • @TakeruDavis There are similarities, but that’s definitely not the film. Rather than having a father and son with an alien, the son was the alien. The Pikmin thing was just a momentary thing in the last two minutes of the movie; the rest of the time he appeared as a Chinese boy. – Thunderforge Feb 7 '18 at 4:52
  • @TakeruDavis Also, I notice that film is in Cantonese. While I admit I don’t know whether the movie was in Mandarin or Cantonese (I read the English subtitles), I assume it was Mandarin since this was on a flight from western China to Beijing. – Thunderforge Feb 7 '18 at 4:58

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