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The Wesley's Mysterious Filofax
Year: 2003
Wong Jing and Andy Lau
Director: Johnnie To Kei-Fung
Producer: Tsui Hark
Writer: James Shamus
Cast: Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Wong Jing, Lisa Kudrow, Shu Qi, Chapman To Man-Chat, Mickey Rourke, Dennis Rodman, Rosamund Kwan Chi-Lam, Donald Sutherland, Antonio Banderas, Jerry Lamb Hiu-Fung, Monica Chan Fat-Yung, Marlon Brando
The Skinny: They got some real talent to do this sequel to last year's most egregious film. The result: hands down the best film of the year. There must be a way to get the whole cast back for another Wesley movie.

     They said it couldn't be done: a sequel to The Wesley's Mysterious File. Well...they were wrong! By enlisting Hong Kong's greatest director Johnnie To, American screenwriter James Schamus, and the comedy stylings of Wong Jing, they've made The Wesley's Mysterious Filofax, a sure-fire Hong Kong Cinema winner. If only all movies were this good.
     Andy Lau returns as Wesley, who's gone south since the loss of his Blue Blood girlfriend Fong (Rosamund Kwan). He should be happy with consolation prize Sue (Shu Qi), but Wesley can't count his blessings. He attempts to ease his broken heart using Chinese internal medicine, but he only succeeds in ruining his blood circulation. Despondent, he takes to drinking large quanties of Pepsi™. Meanwhile, Sue takes off, angry and disillusioned, and decides to become a Category III actress. Wesley couldn't care less; after all, he's seen it all before.
     Unfortunately, Sue disappeared with Wesley's filofax, which at first doesn't seem to be a big deal. After all, Wesley has everything stored in his photographic memory. Unfortunately, his winning lottery ticket is inside the filofax, along with a mysterious power bequeathed him by the Blue Bloods. Wesley must get the filofax back at all costs, so he enlists the aid of brother Woody (Wong Jing), who dresses in the exact same outfits. Woody is like Wesley (i.e., nonsensically smart), but he also enjoys butter-rich foods and field trips to adult book stores.
     Woody drags Welsey to one of the many fine strip joints located in San Francisco, and it's there that they run across a Category III production featuring Sue as the star. To get the filofax back, the pair must hightail it to Hollywood in search of movie producer Bobby Evans (Mickey Rourke), who produced Sue's popular home video. Sadly, Evans is pals with Dennis Rodman (Dennis Rodman), who attacks Wesley while wearing a dress. It's only with the help of budding starlet Nikki (Lisa Kudrow) and down-and-out hitman Julio (Antonio Banderas) that Wesley and Woody can get the filofax back before the mysterious Blue Blood power destroys the universe. Meanwhile, God (Donald Sutherland) goes golfing with Zeus (Marlon Brando), who's so overweight that he can't even leave Mount Olympus. All this and Jerry Lamb Hiu-Fung as Ekin Cheng.
     If the above movie sounds like crap...that's because it is! Luckily Johnnie To directed, which means this is an intelligent, cinematic piece of filmmaking. Frankly, Johnnie To could make a summer camp skit into award-winning cinema, and that's just what he does here! Even though all the elements are in place for a world-class stinkeroo, To manages to find some real human emotion amidst the special effects and screwy comedy which has become the trademark of producer Tsui Hark. The script by James Schamus (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) is remarkably sensitiive given the film's outlandish premise, and Andy Lau turns in a fine central performance. Special credit should be given to Mickey Rourke and Dennis Rodman, who not only display fine emotional depth, but handle all their Cantonese dialogue scenes without a hitch. If you thought these guys were finished after Double Team, think again.
     Not that it's all good. There are some false steps, especially during Chapman To's scenes as George W. Bush. To does a fine job with Bush's trademark boorish behavior, but he can't handle the serious scenes as well. In fact, he's outacted by three porta-potties and a talking mongoose named Mackey. One expects more of To, especially after his recent turn in Infernal Affairs, but he disappoints greatly. Still, his performance is a minor gripe in an otherwise fine production. Hopefully everybody can return for yet another Wesley's movie. If they did, Hong Kong Cinema would certainly be saved from further box office doldrums. (EkonCheng 2003)


image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd.

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