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Two Stupid Eggs
Chinese: 大电影2.0之两个傻瓜的荒唐事 "That was great! Too bad about the movie."
Annie Liu and Guo Tao
AKA: Big Movie 2 - Two Stupid Eggs
Year: 2007
Director: Kiefer Liu (Agan)
Cast: Guo Tao, Annie Liu, Sam Lee Chan-Sam, Yao Chen, Gordon Lam Ka-Tung, Ying Zhuang, Xie Na, Cheung Tat-Ming, Huang Bo
The Skinny: Marriage comedy that starts funny but derails when it tries to add seriousness to the proceedings. Sometimes comedies should just stick with trying to be funny.
 
Review
by Kozo:

According to IMDB, the Spanish film Torremolinos 73 tells the story of how "a struggling encyclopedia salesman and his wife take advantage of an offer to make adult films. The act turns him into an aspiring legit filmmaker and her into an international sex symbol." That sounds like a pretty fun movie, and so does Two Stupid Eggs. The sequel-in-name-only to last year's hit Chinese film Big Movie, Two Stupid Eggs is a remake of Torremolinos 73 starring Guo Tao (Crazy Stone) as the salesman who becomes a filmmaker, and Annie Liu (Exodus) as the wife who becomes an adult film star. Hold on a second - Annie Liu as an accidental porn star?!? Red-blooded males everywhere: this is where you get in line for tickets and/or the DVD release.

However, your bubble is due to be burst. Two Stupid Eggs is a Mainland Chinese film, and thanks to their censorship rules, bawdiness is usually implied rather than shown. Also, Mainland films sometimes come with a subtle-or-not-so-subtle message about how sacrifice for the greater good kicks all sorts of ass. Well, Two Stupid Eggs has that message, and it's delivered during a knock-down, drag-out Oscar clip with Guo Tao spewing more obtuse righteousness than one needs. During that same conversation, his wife is trying to make her own point known, but he conveniently ignores her so he can continue on his 12-page monologue. Never mind that a minute ago, she was trying to leave him and wasn't listening to him. When communication between this married couple is finally available, instead of accord, we get a movie-stopping diatribe about - well - stuff that didn't matter about three minutes ago. What the hell happened?

Rewinding to before the film jumps the shark, Two Stupid Eggs begins with the introduction of book salesman Wen Tao (Guo Tao), who's trying to make ends meet by selling a guide for newlyweds including, presumably, instructions on intimacy. He hawks his wares on the bus to complete strangers, while thinking of his own newlywed difficulties with pretty pet groomer Xiao Yu (Annie Liu). They get along famously, but he can't really provide for her. Meanwhile, Wen Tao desires to be a filmmaker in order to follow in his father's footsteps, but the vocation has been deemed foolhardy by Xiao Yu and likely society at large. Xiao Yu is looking for lots of loving so she can become pregnant, and the hints she drops are obvious and frequently ignored by Wen Tao. He's too tired out from trying to sell the newlywed guide, and the meager pennies it earns him are likely not worth the trouble.

However, Wen Tao finds inspiration when someone suggests that he turn his newlywed guide into a VCD. Wen Tao agrees, and hires a Hong Kong transplant (Sam Lee, sporting crappy hair) as his lead actor, plus another immigrant neighbor (Yao Chen, from the first Big Movie) as the lead actress. The movie-within-a-movie is filmed in a cheap, but supposedly wannabe artsy way, and any ribald content is implied rather than shown. Oddly, some people are actually touched by the work that Wen Tao puts together. Suspension of disbelief is obviously needed here. Problems arise when a gold digging actress attempts to blackmail Wen Tao for his supposed "casting couch" practices, plus Wen Tao wants to keep his "decadent" job hidden from his lovely wife. There may be another problem, however, when a suave pet owner (Gordon Lam) shows up at Xiao Yu's workplace looking for someone to clean his dog. Plus, Wen Tao has to finish the film pronto to satisfy the unsavory types bankrolling the whole thing, and his newfound notoriety for being a "casting couch" director isn't making life easier. Can't a fledgling filmmaker get a break?

In the Big Movie tradition, Two Stupid Eggs possesses a few movie parodies, but they're neatly folded into the film and rarely call attention to themselves. Instead, the film attempts to milk its remade storyline for all the satire and drama that it can, and director Kiefer Liu (AKA: Agan) partially succeeds. The film starts off in a relatively promising fashion, thanks to some amusing satire on the whole movie-within-a-movie concept. People are lining up to be in Wen Tao's crappy production, and the notoriety that Wen Tao achieves when he's outed for groping actresses (its all a frame-up) earns some decent laughs. China is a get-rich-quick, rapidly modernizing place, and this collision of money, shrinking technology, and media sensationalism is ripe territory for satire. Liu gets the most from his premise early on, managing to waffle on his disclosure (Are they filming a porno or not?) while delivering an attractive portrait of modern Shanghai and its diverse, calculating citizenry. Guo Tao is a game performer and Annie Liu is certainly easy on the eyes, if not that much of an actress. At the very least, the pair of actors moves the film along such that one is willing to go where it's headed - assuming, of course, that the destination is worth the trip.

The big problem: the movie pretty much derails after its big "moment", sending the whole film into that cinematic limbo that occurs when you take an obvious comedy and attempt to squeeze topical drama out of it. Some dark events occur, and rather than the film addressing them, we get even more silent suffering and maybe the idea that it's okay to take one on the chin for the good of the people because, hey, you're one of them too. The needs of the many do outweigh the needs of the few - at least, they did in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. That's a fine message for science fiction, but in the world of Two Stupid Eggs, it just seems like the characters are getting an emotional beatdown. People earn money, attain a family, and discover what it is they truly want and/or need, but the journey is so deflating that disappointment can only occur. People start as cogs in the machine and end as cogs in the machine, but unlike, say, The Postmodern Life of My Aunt, nothing poignant or revealing really occurs. All we get is a movie that we wish would try to stay funny for just a little bit longer. (Kozo 2008)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of Filmko
 
 
 
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