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Musings from the Edge of Forever

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Drunken Master: The Romantic Comedy


Miriam Yeung and Daniel Wu in Drink-Drank-Drunk

If you have yet to see Derek Yee’s Drink-Drank-Drunk (2005), you might be surprised to learn that it isn’t really a film about the joys of alcoholism, despite what its title, premise, and pre-release advertising might have led you to believe. Instead, this romantic comedy centers on a  beer hostess — Siu-Min (Miriam Yeung) who may be able to hold her liquor, but is getting a little long in the tooth for her job. Soon, she meets Michel (Daniel Wu), a globe-trotting chef specializing in French cuisine whose restaurant just isn’t connecting with the locals. While drinking his sorrows away, Michel ends up sleeping it off at Siu-Man’s apartment. After the impromptu sleepover, the two become fast friends and — not surprisingly — faster lovers.

But prior to this totally expected romantic development, the two form a partnership of sorts — in exchange for room and board at Siu-Min’s place, Michel allows her to use his restaurant as a cafe during daylight hours, thus fulfilling a lifelong dream of our heroine. Unfortunately, Michel’s unwillingness to cater to local tastes causes his restaurant to suffer and the thought of settling down with Siu-Man starts to put a crimp in his heretofore vagabond lifestyle (as represented by his annoying, carefree pal — played by Terence Yin). But it isn’t so much the “laying down roots” part that bothers him about his burgeoning relationship; it’s the fact that he feels emasculated by his inability to launch a successful career as a chef. Amidst all of Michel’s growing pains, the question remains, “How does he feel about Siu-Min?”As the de facto protagonist of this piece, she clearly has a right to know.

Drink-Drank-Drunk is a film that is engaging in passages, but falls short in a myriad of ways. Really, it all boils down to verisimilitude. Character-wise, the supporting cast seems so one-note and phony: the stereotypical gay best friend (Vincent Kok); the shrill, gold-digging idiots that pass for Siu-Man’s friends; the over-the-top triad (Alex Fong) with the hots for our heroine, and the Mainlander femme fatale (Hu Jing) who comes to steal Michel away seem more like plot devices than actual people. Of all of these, only Alex Fong’s character, Brother Nine, makes any real impact — and again, only in passages.

The film works best when it feels real, and credit must go to Yeung and Wu for finding ways to give the material some semblance of authenticity.  But when the film starts getting broad and too “movie-like,” it just feels as phony and hackneyed as any other HK romantic comedy misfire. Drink-Drank-Drunk isn’t bad enough to make you want to hit the bottle, but it sure comes close at times.

If you’re interested in knowing more about Drink-Drank-Drunk, be sure to read Kozo’s review here for another, more detailed perspective on the film.

One Response to “Drunken Master: The Romantic Comedy”

  1. Wongsaurus Says:

    It seems that DDD, along with Nothing Is Impossible and Cocktail have probably inspired more alochol consumption and abuse among Asian teens and twenty-somethings than any conventional advertising campaign from a corporate brewer/distiller. There’s lots of product placement, attractive young people having fun, and no real consequences are seriously shown as a result of irresponsible drinking. Intoxication, addiction and the price paid in personal ruin is nowhere to be seen. Has there ever been any HK or other Asian movie that seriously portrayed alcoholism?

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