Wednesday, February 2, 2011

All's Well, Ends Well 2011 | 最強囍事 2011 [ Movie Review ] ★★★

All's Well, Ends Well 2011 最強囍事 2011, the sixth installment of the Lunar New Year flick is here again. Making it the third in a row appearance for this series since 2009. There must be something appealing to this series that making the audience keep coming back for more. It's either that or they just don't know what else to do during the Chinese New Year.

The format for this series has been kept rather simple. Four different couples falling in love or rediscovering passion through various funny situations.

Clerk (Raymond Wong) is a wealthy businessman who is too busy with work. In order to pacify and keep his girlfriend, Dream (Yan Ni) busy, he bought over a cosmetic company for her to run. Clueless in running the business, Dream decided to turn to Sammy (Louis Koo) a well known effeminate professional make up artist for help.

Unknown to almost everyone else, Sammy is a straight guy who pretends to effeminate so that he could excel in the beauty industry. His lovely assistant Claire (Cecilia Cheung) is generally a down to earth, goody two shoes type of lady but strangely lacks confidence.

Having difficulties with the business, Sammy seeks help from his make up artist friend, Arnold (Donnie Yen). Arnold has a gift of understanding women and that made him a very efficient cosmetic salesman. However, the only one woman that he couldn't figure out would be his ex girlfriend Mona (Carina Lau), a failed writer who is constantly immersing herself into the roles that she is writing.

Meanwhile, Smoothie a billionaire (Chapman To) who is having the break up blues with ex girlfriend (Lynn Huang). Unexpectedly, he meets Claire and developed feelings for her because she is not a gold digger. Though there are many women throwing themselves at Smoothie, he realized that he has no experience in wooing someone who is absolutely not interested in his wealth. He seeks Sammy's help in pursuing Claire and romance blossom with a strange twist.

When it comes to a He Sui Pian ( 贺岁片 Chinese New Year Movie ), it's usually going to be a feel good comedic movie that not very well scripted. All's Well, Ends Well 2011 has a couple of segments that were poorly written.

For example, there's a segment where Sammy was instructing Smoothie on how to propose to Clarie and advising Clarie on how to handle the wedding proposal. That segment felt down right silly (not in a funny way) and the humour was crudely constructed as the writer was drawing a blank on how to merge one point of the story arc with another. It was also pretty obvious who the 2nd tier supporting characters that are generally disposable. Their characters and their story arc felt so unnecessary that the wrap up for them felt utterly lazy and uninspired.

But it won't be fair to say that All's Well, Ends Well 2011 is a dreary affair. There are some moments that are rather delightful to catch. Fans of action star Donnie Yen will have a fun time watching him trade punches for brushes. It's quite amusing to see him spoofing the Ip Man character that catapult him to A list stardom in Asia. But the one thing that drawing the most laugh in this movie would be Louis Koo's effeminate performance. He had tackle various roles before but I believe this is the first time that he is portraying an effeminate make up artist and his performance was pretty impressive.

There's also some homage to the original All's Well, Ends Well movie that fun to spot. It's not hard to link Louis Koo effeminate character with the one that the late Leslie Cheung did in the original. The fantasy segment between Donnie Yen and Carina Lau were a reminiscence of Maggie Cheung and Stephen Chow's multiple roleplay of different well known movie characters.

Last but not least, it's nice to see Cecilia Cheung back in the showbiz after the Edison Chen's nude picture scandal. Although there's not much material in All's Well, Ends Well for her to work on, her screen presence remained ever so mesmerizing. It would be a pity if she had left the Hong Kong film industry and I for one is glad to see her back working.
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The translation of the Chinese title for All's Well, Ends Well 2011 最強囍事 literally means the strongest happiness. But among the various incarnation of All's Well, Ends Well movie, this is definitely not one of the strongest installment. But it's equally entertaining (and flawed) as it's immediate competitor this year (that would be Eric Tsang's I Love Hong Kong). For what they are intended, both are equally adequate as an enjoyable time passer during the Chinese New Year period.

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