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King of Comedy
Chinese: 喜劇之王


Cecilia Cheung and Stephen Chow

Year: 1999
Director: Lee Lik-Chee, Stephen Chow Sing-Chi
Action: Bruce Law Lai-Yin
Cast: Stephen Chow Sing-Chi, Karen Mok Man-Wai, Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi, Ng Man-Tat, Tin Kai-Man, Lam Chi-Sin, Lee Siu-Kei, Bat Leung-Gum, Johnson Lee Si-Jit, Jackie Chan (cameo)
The Skinny: Stephen Chow's latest is affecting, ambitious, and a thorough delight for his fans. Newcomer Cecilia Cheung is remarkable.
 
Review
by Kozo:

The first twenty minutes of Stephen Chowís latest film are befuddling in that they appear to head nowhere. The non-sensical belly laughs of his usual antics are gone. Instead we get a bare minimum plot and unfamiliar characters. Then it gets better.

Chow is Wan Tin-Sau, a professional extra whose attention to his craft make him unbearable to work with. Twice he gets banned from the set of the latest action picture from action star Sister Cuckoo (Karen Mok). Enter Lau Piu-Piu (Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi), a coarse club girl who approaches Sau for acting lessons to better her ďprofessionalĒ career. He helps her, but not without some difficulty, and they begin a small romance. However certain truths conspire to keep them apart and Sau finds himself alone - until he gets a call from Sister Cuckoo, who wants him for her next movie.

He accepts, but explaining the plot in such a straightforward manner can only make the film sound boring and aimless. In fact, itís anything but - if you can deal with what itís trying to do. Aside from being surprisingly benign, itís also remarkably sentimental. At first glance, itís just a disjointed parody of various films, but beneath that lies a strangely moving character drama.

More to the point, itís all about one character: Wan Tin-Sau. His incredible love of acting make him a laughingstock, but itís that dedication that ultimately changes his life, bringing him both love and respect in unexpected ways. The same can be said for Piu-Piu, who chooses love over money, and is quite compelling despite her stock character. Credit should be given to newcomer Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi, who had the unenviable task of replacing Shu Qi, and still manages to bring a remarkable emotional depth to her character.

Still, the film hinges on Stephen Chow and he really comes through. His comedic prowess allows the film the ability to swiftly change from slapstick to romance to self-reflexive satire without skipping a beat. In fact, the film works best as an extension of Chow, challenging what we would like him to be vs. what he wishes to show us. For the casual viewer, this film means and probably does nothing, but for audiences who have watched Stephen Chow from the beginning, this is a funny and affecting movie. (Kozo 2000)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of www.mov3.com

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