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Hotel Deluxe
Hotel Deluxe     Hotel Deluxe

(left) Raymond Wong and Sandra Ng, and (right) Fiona Sit and Ronald Cheng in Hotel Deluxe.
Chinese: 百星酒店
Year: 2013
Director: Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu

Raymond Wong Bak-Ming, Zhang Zhao

Writer: Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu, Anselm Chan Mau-Yin, Fung Min-Hun, Poon Jun-Lam
Cast: Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu, Teresa Mo Sun-Kwan, Ronald Cheng Chung-Kei, Chapman To Man-Chat, Fiona Sit Hoi-Kei, Lynn Xiong, Karena Ng, Raymond Wong Bak-Ming, Yu Bo, Eric Kot Man-Fai, Jim Chim Sui-Man, Siu Yam-Yam, Ha Chun-Chau, Michelle Ye, Joe Cheng Cho, Fung Min-Hun, Janelle Sing, Crystal Cheung Man-Nga, Winkie Lai Mei-Yin, Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu, Chan Bo-Yuen, Tin Kai-Man, Anita Chui
The Skinny: Better than it sounds on paper, which is a victory for a Raymond Wong-produced Lunar New Year comedy. Fine comedians and solid chemistry between Ronald Cheng and Fiona Sit highlight what could have been just another Vincent Kok-directed misfire. Not a classic but not much from this genre is.
by Kozo:

Producer-actor Raymond Wong varies his Lunar New Year formula with the passably entertaining Hotel Deluxe, offering a “hijinks in a hotel” comedy instead of the usual all-star couples pair-off that his All’s Well Ends Well movies deliver year after year. Not that the creative detour really means anything because once you strip away the flimsy premise, the result is pretty much the same as Wong’s other Lunar New Year films.

Hotel Deluxe concerns the Hundred Stars Hotel, located on Qiandao Lake in Hangzhou (also the key location in All’s Well Ends Well 2009), and how the hotel staff bands together to retain their five-star rating. Longtime staff members Peachey (Sandra Ng), Pacino (Chapman To) and OK Pao (Ronald Cheng) have become somewhat complacent, so the head office assigns tightfisted manager Cruella Koo (Teresa Mo) to oversee operations. The staff isn’t too happy with the new leadership and makes a few weak attempts at screwing with Cruella. However, she’s really a decent sort and before long she’s working with the team to solve the hotel’s many crises.

Besides a suspected travel critic (the annoying Jim Chim) prowling the grounds, the hotel staff must handle visiting superstars Audrey (Lynn Xiong) and Marilyn (Karena Ng). Both have problems: Audrey is sickly sweet in public but foul-mouthed and difficult in private, and Marilyn is a new age oddball. While Cruella deals with Audrey and her many demands, OK handles Marilyn. OK is a super fan of Marilyn, but that fact charms rather than repels her and soon the two develop mutual romantic feelings.

However, before OK can get his own Notting Hill remake, old friend Bobo (Fiona Sit) arrives at the hotel with a special request: she must get married to keep her family inheritance, but her uncle (Raymond Wong) seeks to stop her. However, Bobo doesn’t have a fiancé, so the staff finds a ringer in valet Mark Lui (Yu Bo) and prepare to fake her wedding. The potential pairings triple when Bobo’s uncle takes a shine to Peachey, plus Bobo has unrequited feelings for OK. Things eventually reach a head — but don’t worry, it all ends well. You know, just like in Raymond Wong’s other movies.

If you’re looking for challenging cinema, don’t check into Hotel Deluxe. Featuring generic storylines presented in a lazy manner by director Vincent Kok, this is a genial laffer that inspires zero tension. The same three or four staff members attend to every crisis, and though there are numerous other employees at the hotel, the film never concerns itself with any of them. Subplots lack edge; you’d think with some superstars roaming a hotel, there would be a chance for juicy gossip or conflict, but the most excitement we get is a handful of paparazzi blindly chasing Marilyn.

The hotel certainly looks nice but actual filmmaking is barely up to par. Scenes are extended and talky, with some moments resembling TVB in their lazy television-like staging. Also, the filmmakers are unable to hide the fact that they sometimes use a hospital to double for the hotel. Few superstars populate this year’s “all-star” cast, with semi-regular All’s Well players Louis Koo and Donnie Yen conspicuously absent, not to mention one-off participants Cecilia Cheung and Carina Lau. On paper, most Lunar New Year films sound more promising than Hotel Deluxe.

Paper and practice are different, however. Hotel Deluxe doesn’t aspire to much and yet it still manages minor laughs and even some surprise, largely thanks to its able cast. A-list comediennes Sandra Ng and Teresa Mo make a fine team, and play off one another quite well. Chapman To works his supporting role with satisfying glee, and Ronald Cheng and Fiona Sit show a surprising and enjoyable chemistry. Lynn Xiong stretches a bit as the nasty Audrey, while Raymond Wong takes a backseat to the other actors — and that’s a plus in any film.

Expectations for Lunar New Year fare are quite low, and Hotel Deluxe surpasses them handily by moving efficiently and not taking itself too seriously. There’s some syrupy stuff here but little is lingered on or pushed uncomfortably. Also, the filmmakers manage to wrangle the entire cast into several scenes together — something that All’s Well Ends Well 2012, to its detriment, was unable to accomplish. Hotel Deluxe doesn’t deserve five stars; it’s too benign and unremarkable to be rated as anything special. But a three-star rating? It does enough to earn that. (Kozo, 2013)



DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Vicol Entertainment Ltd. (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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