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The Best Plan is No Plan
The Best Plan is No Plan

Sammy Sum, Justin Cheung and Hanjin Tan in The Best Plan is No Plan.
Chinese: 溝女不離三兄弟  
Year: 2013
Director: Patrick Kong
Producer: Paco Wong
Writer: Patrick Kong
Cast: Sammy Sum Chun-Hin, Hanjin Tan, Justin Cheung Kin-Seng, Shiga Lin Si-Nga, Jinny Ng Yeuk-Hei, Elva Ni, Jacqueline Chong Si-Man, Angel Chiang Ka-Man, Jeana Ho Pui-Yu, Mak Ling-Ling, Liu Fan, Ming Jai (Leung Ka-Ming), Sunny Chan, Wilson Chin Kwok-Wai, Eric Kwok Wai-Leung, Mark Wu Yiu-Fai, Bob Lam, Siu Fei, Natalie Meng Yao, Lo Hoi-Pang, Anjaylia Chan Ka-Po
  The Skinny: The worst Patrick Kong film ever. 'Nuff said.
by Kozo:
The Best Plan is No Plan may be the worst Patrick Kong film ever – and if you’re familiar with the low-rent auteur’s vast filmography of quality-challenged films, you know that’s quite a statement. This unconvincing and largely unfunny comedy stars Lan Kwai Fong 2’s bleached blond himbo Sammy Sum as Hung, one of three guys who meet at a funeral, commiserate about their problems with women and resolve to help one another solve them. Sort of. Actually, while the guys do cooperate to handle each other’s issues, their agreement to do so doesn’t really register. There’s no moment or decision that occurs that raises the stakes or creates potential consequence. The characters just make a single casual attempt at helping each other and then stop when it doesn’t work out, whereupon they go their separate ways and meet up by chance later. Storytelling, thy name is not Patrick Kong.

A Patrick Kong fan could argue that Kong is trying to comment expressionistically on the transitory nature of modern brotherhood, where deep bonds can form through shared misery only to fade due to the soulless reality of modern life. Or this is just a bad, ineptly made film. The Best Plan is No Plan lacks any sort of unifying theme or story, and plays like a collection of mismatched, loosely connected gags and situations – or maybe just the leftover scraps of discarded stories found in Patrick Kong’s desktop Recycle Bin. Said scraps usually involve characters chattering away or snarking at each other, with uninspired situations and only occasional amusement as the audience reward. The rest of the time, boredom or a gnawing annoyance are what you may experience. If you see this film, the best case scenario is that your interest in one of the stars placates your anger. Or maybe you fall asleep and miss everything. Neither scenario applies to me, so I’ve got nothing good to report.

Plot rundown: Meek screenwriter Hung (Sum) is bullied by domineering girlfriend Rose (Jacqueline Chong), and soon falls for Rose’s free-spirited half-sister Flower (Shiga Lin). This whole situation makes Flower happy, so she dances obnoxiously while baring her midriff. Unfortunately, whenever Hung sings, someone dies, so he’d like to avoid singing in front of Flower. Meanwhile, cherub-faced Sean (Hanjin Tan) runs into childhood friend Dollar (Angel Chiang of Patrick Kong’s A Secret Between Us). She’s deep in debt and the smitten Sean wants to help her. Finally, Shing (Due West’s Justin Cheung) is a driver for Playboy Fung (Leung Ka-Ming a.k.a. Ming Jai), a rich bastard who’s involved with Miss Poon (Elva Ni), who was once a club girl and the object of Shing’s affections. Shing pines for her, but Miss Poon has a rival in Mon (Jinny Ng), a club madam who helps Shing and his buddies. Eventually, all these problems are solved by Lo Hoi-Pang. Really!

This Patrick Kong-style update on the Chasing Girls formula has a few plusses, like some pointless but still funny barbs against Hong Kong media and local culture. The lead guys meet at the funeral for Wong Chun-Chun (a.k.a. director Barbara Wong), and all three have names alluding to other Hong Kong directors (Wilson Yip, Joe Ma, Benny Chan). Jacqueline Chong terrorizes the screen as the film’s bad girl, and excels in her many scenes of verbal abuse. Sammy Sum is actually somewhat likable – a shocker since his previous performances were hive-inducing if not worse. Other actors range from nondescript to unfortunate (Hanjin Tan’s impression of an Indian person is appalling). Between joke attempts, Kong also offers wannabe touching or clever moments that are anything but. Pretty Elva Ni has one long Mandarin monologue where she drones on and on, but the supposedly heartfelt subject matter is so uninteresting that it could induce sleep if not rage.

The climax of the film takes place at a big dinner hosted by Lo Hoi-Pang, who’s related to only two of the film’s characters, and yet somehow everyone else in the movie shows up anyway. The dinner is at a supposedly swank restaurant, but it’s clearly a large auditorium with a round table stuck in the center. There’s also a band and for some reason they’re invited to stay and eat, though they shouldn’t because, well, they’re just the band. Frankly, none of this makes any sense, and only serves to highlight just how lazy the whole film is. The fact that Patrick Kong is so brazen about his lack of effort shows that he’s A) arrogant and thinks we’ll buy whatever crap he puts on the screen, or B) totally inept and actually believes in his own terrible filmmaking. Neither answer speaks highly of Kong, so we’ll be nice and forget this conversation. And hopefully the movie. (Kozo, 10/2013)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Universe Entertainment
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also available on Blu-ray Disc
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