Monday, August 15, 2011

The Fortune Buddies | 勁抽褔祿壽 [ Movie Review ] ★★

The Plot

The Fortune Buddies follow the adventures of three hapless friends. Lam Luk (Wong Cho-lam), Jit Sau (Johnson Lee) and Fook Cheung (Louis Yuen) are three jobless guys who are often waiting at the employment agency to change their life.

Luk would like to settle down with his girlfriend (Fiona Sit) but the potential father-in-law (Eric Tsang) would like to test Luk abilities in taking care his daughter. He gave Luk a sum of money and a time frame to transformed it into five hundred thousand dollars.

Given their current jobless situation, it's almost an impossible task but Fook and Sau are determined to help Luk achieved his dream. They decided to perform as drag queens at Mongkok's Sai Yeung Choi street. It didn't help them earned much but after a fight with another group of drag queens, they found fame online (courtesy of online video streaming). 

To capitalize on their new found fame, they decided to perform wrestling on the streets. What they didn't expect was a challenge from a foreigner and a surprise win for Fook, Luk and Sau. Their victory were once again loaded onto the internet and they became even more popular. What they couldn't predict was that the foreigner turns out to be a pro wrestler and was humiliated by the defeat. A challenge was issued to the trio and it comes with a reward that they couldn't refuse.

In between Luk's quest to win his girlfriend's father approval in marriage, there are subplots pertaining to Fook and Sau's past and their conflicts. Sau claimed to be a rich man son who left the wealthy life so that he could pursue the woman of his dream (Samantha Ko). Meanwhile Fook is a single dad who refused to let his successful ex wife (Fala Chen) reunite with his son. All their problems will come to an resolution in the wrestling ring.

The Perspective

This movie is made in 20 days and it really showed. It's made in a He Sui Pian movie format (Asian movies made specially for the Chinese New Year period, usually a joyful comedy with plenty of cameo & weak plotting) but it's still a long way to go till Chinese Lunar New Year. After the movie ended, the first thing that came into my mind was "Why was this movie made?".

It seemed to served no purpose. The nearest Chinese Festival would be the Mid-Autumn (Mooncake) festival and it won't be here till September. It's unlikely that this movie is made to celebrate the Chinese Ghost festival. So why is this movie being made?

The production for this movie felt rushed. The story felt more patchy than the average He Sui Pian. It seemed like there were very little thought process given to link the various plotlines together. In fact, it felt like a series of television sketch that's been pasted together and the whole point of this movie was to deliver a gag after another.

That brings us to another problem with the movie. Some of the jokes were funny but most of the jokes weren't. For every one scene that cracked me up, there were many other sketches that fell flat.  I must admit that the jokes might be diluted by the Mandarin dubbing but even so, it's a far cry from "I love Hong Kong" or "72 Tenants of Prosperity". There were also plenty of references to the current trends and pop culture of Hong Kong that didn't strike a chord with this Singaporean viewer. I find them hard to relate and even harder to be amused by it.

Personally, I always enjoyed Louis Yuen, Wong Cho Lam and Johnson Lee's performance. Even when they are just a supporting act in a Hong Kong TVB series. I also have a soft spot for Fiona Sit and Eric Tsang had been tickling my funny bones since I started watching Hong Kong comedies. However there's very little material in The Fortune Buddies to bring out the best in them. I liked to see more of them but it's also hard to recommend this movie. Perhaps one could wait for the telly to broadcast this movie because there's no real lost waiting till then.

Beyond the Movie

Each of the three main characters' name contain a word that forms Fook Luk Sau (or Fu Lu Shou in Mandarin ). Fook Luk Sau are the Deities of Good Fortune, Prosperity and Longevity. These three Deities are very popular in Chinese culture.

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