Kei’s eldest sister Sandra is a hot-tempered magazine editor and her temperament has left her single all this while. One of the family rules is that none of the siblings could get married before their eldest sister. Kei seeks help from the famous Casanova. Koo Chai, to pretend to court his eldest sister and lure her into the mood of love.
It may be but a pale reminder of glories past. But the 2009 edition of All’s Well End’s Well (Gia Huu Hy Su) deserves a prize if for no other reason than it keeps the Hong Kong institution of the Lunar New Year family comedy alive. Only tangentially related to the hilarious 1992 original and its far less illustrious 1997 successor. The latest is a rare example of the once prolific genre gasping for breath in the radically altered landscape of 21st century Hong Kong cinema.
The script by director Vincent Kok Tak-chiu (who penned all previous All’s Well films). Steven Fung Min-hang and Poon Chun-lam alternates between silly fun and just plain silly. The antics occasionally resulting in genuine guffaws. The movie’s chief asset is Sandra Ng Kwan-yu, who. After gaining deserved acclaim in dramatic roles, returns to her roots in broad slapstick. As shrewish magazine editor Yu Chu. She is a terror resigned to living alone, much to the chagrin of younger brother Yu Bo (Ronald Cheng Chung-kei). He is cursed to remain single until his sister is wed. Thus leading him to hire love expert Dick Cho (Louis Koo Tin-lok) to turn the spinster into marriage material.
The three work well together along with producer-actor Raymond Wong Pak-ming. Who appears later in the film as L., a mysterious detective. Wong and Ng enjoy a special rapport that goes back to the first All’s Well End’s Well. And it is shown to good effect in their easy give-and-take along with a willingness to be seen in a less than flattering light. The preview audience’s biggest laugh was elicited by Chu’s father (Ng’s real-life dad, Ha Chun-chau) when he is introduced to L., and mistakenly assumes he is the man whose good looks his daughter can’t stop raving about. ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ he says.
The story itself is inconsequential. Especially when it follows a trite romantic path as Bo and Dick meet their mainland soulmates. (Yao Chen, pictured above with Cheng, and Miki Shum Lai-kwan). The movie is too obviously commercial when it contrives to include a mini-travelogue extolling the virtues of Hangzhou’s Qiandao Lake, a resort area where all the principals find love. A reference to the Beijing Olympics comes across as politically correct but terribly dated even though the event took place a mere six months ago.
All’s Well (phim hay 2020) is a hit and miss affair, with some gags hitting the mark and others denser than a piece of New Year’s pudding. So while it is disappointing that Guo Tao (of Crazy Stone fame) is wasted in a trivial role as Chu’s boss. Charlene Choi Cheuk-yin’s unaffected humour in her cameo as an unflappable insurance agent comes as a surprise. And in the end, when the cast faces the camera to shout ‘kung hei fat choi!’ it’s comforting to know that whatever its flaws. At least one feature is continuing a Hong Kong tradition into the Year of the Ox.