In Mandarin with English & Chinese subtitles
Director: Vincent Kok
Cast: Louis Koo, Ronald Cheng, Sandra Ng, Raymond
Wong, Lee Hong Kum, Ng Kam Chuen
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & InnoForm
Opening Day: 22 January 2009
- INTERVIEW WITH THE CAST AND DIRECTOR
(Ronald Cheng) has no choice but to say no, in tears, when
his long-time girlfriend decides it’s time to tie the
knot – a rule in his family stipulates that the oldest
daughter finds an eligible husband before younger siblings
can get married. Unfortunately, his elder sister, Sandra (Sandra
Ng), a fretful and grumpy 40-year-old magazine editor, is
still single and officially unmarriageable and therefore leaves
him little chance. To get her out of the way, Ronald hires
notorious ladies’ man Louis (Louis Koo) to seduce his
sister. In order to approach Sandra, Louis joins her company
as a new writer for an upcoming travel magazine.
Before a Jack Neo movie became staple every Chinese New Year, there was a certain franchise that was the definitive 'he sui pian'. Yes, I’m referring to All’s Well Ends Well, the feel-good comedy series that starred a certain Stephen Chow, back in the days when he still looked youthful.
Unfortunately, the comedian whose name became almost synonymous with the series doesn’t return for this latest instalment. No matter- its creator Raymond Wong has given this franchise a reboot after 12 years and I’m glad to say that the 'heartware' that made its predecessors such rousing crowd-pleasers is still very much intact.
Instead of the love lives of three brothers, this 2009 edition is about that of a brother-sister pair. The sister is a headstrong, almost charmless career woman called Sandra (Sandra Ng) whose singular, dedicated and no-nonsense approach to her career jeopardizes her younger brother, Ronald’s (Ronald Cheng) marriage plans.
According to the rule in his family, marriage among siblings must follow chronological age, from oldest to youngest. So Ronald engages a love doctor Dick Cho (Louis Koo) to help his sister fall in love once more. Dick happens to be a dashing charmer with the ladies who reignites within their hearts the smouldered embers of love.
But while Sandra falls head over heels for Dick, her love is sadly not mutual. When she suspects that Dick may have fallen for someone else, she engages someone claiming to be a private detective (Raymond Wong) to follow Dick around. Needless to say, complications (and of course, hilarity) ensues.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how it will all turn out- in fact, the title of the movie should give you a pretty big hint. What this movie lacks in novelty, it however makes up for in more than generous doses of fun and laughter. And that is thanks to the many hilarious setups in Vincent Kok and Raymond Wong’s script, which surprisingly tones down the slapstick in the previous movies and opts for a more natural, easygoing style of comedy.
Instead, the script allows the ensemble cast to work their personal charm on-screen and the result is a joyous sight to watch. Taking a break from the cool action dude roles of late, Louis Koo gleefully oozes his manly 'lady killer' charm as love expert Dick Cho. But what is pleasantly surprising is how Louis Koo gamely hams it up like a lovesick puppy when the expert himself gets caught up in the headiness of love.
Equally delightful is the return of Sandra Ng to leading role status after a brief hiatus since Golden Chicken 2 back in 2003. Probably an unlikely candidate for a romantic lead, her transformation from love cynic to love smitten is definitely amusing. Not forgetting Ronald Cheng, whose umpteenth collaboration with director Vincent Kok is less grating than some previous outings and certainly more relaxed.
And of course there’s more than enough bits of nostalgia here to please the older generation who grew up with the series in the 1990s. Here the reunion of veterans Raymond Wong, Lee Heung-Kam and Ha Cheung Chau (Sandra Ng’s real father playing her on-screen father) will surely delight many of their fans who have been lamenting their absence on the big screen.
Indeed, if this were an attempt to kick start the franchise once more, then All’s Well Ends Well 2009 marks an auspicious rebirth. There’s nothing entirely new and inventive here; but hey as a 'he sui pian', there’s definitely enough light-hearted charm and laughs to put you in that jolly New Year festive mood.
(Probably your best bet at a genuinely funny 'he sui pian' this Lunar New Year)
Review by Gabriel Chong