Lee must meet the parents in the 2006 comedy We Are
Family. Lee is Kit, a rising manager who aims to
be his company's next CEO. When his boss (Bey Logan)
tells him he's a candidate for promotion, he also hints
that it would be best for him to get married, because
married men are stable and make better CEOs. Or so they
say. Kit promptly proposes to his longtime girlfriend
Fong (Hu Jing, who played the evil restauranteur in
Drink-Drank-Drunk), who gives a conditional yes.
The condition: Kit must meet
and win the approval of her various family members,
including Grandma (Alan Tam in heavy makeup), Dad (Alan
Tam in a white wig), Mom (Law Koon-Lan), and her Older
Brother (Alan Tam with a fake gut). Somewhere in there,
Kit also must meet Fong's younger brother (Alan Tam
again), as well as her nanny (Joey Leung Wing-Chung
in drag), and various other people who hang out around
her obviously eccentric family. Kit is game because
he wants to rise in his company's ranks and solidify
his position as a power player. Oh yes, he's also doing
it because he loves Fong. Can he make her family love
Duh, of course he can.
This is a commercial comedy and not some biting satire
about the folly of man. Ergo, a happy ending is all
but guaranteed. We Are Family is a throwback
to the feel-good Cantonese comedies of the late eighties
and early nineties. Basically, take a bunch of stars,
throw in romance and family complications, milk every
cultural joke you can, and instruct your actors to overact
accordingly. The result: 90+ minutes of easy entertainment,
which hopefully engenders more actual laughs than chuckles.
One can only hope.
Using the above definition,
We Are Family ranks as more of a chuckle film.
Some the performances amuse, including Law Koon-Lan
as Fong's strangely horny mom, and Alan Tam in his quartet
of roles. The cultural gags get decent mileage too;
Kit must visit China, where he gets accosted by the
locals and fed all sorts of gnarly stuff that would
make the uninitiated puke their guts. Major plot kicks
in when Kit visits Fong's older brother, who runs a
Chinese medicine shop in Singapore. His shop is about
to get a new competitor, which is financed by Kit's
company and endorsed by a charlatan Buddhist doctor
(Clifton Ko). This leads to Three's Company-style
situation comedy and even more scenes of Alan Tam overacting.
It's like comedy Heaven.
Or not. As mentioned before We Are Family is more benign than balls-out hilarious,
and is ultimately tolerable stuff for those predisposed
to seeing stuff like this. What the film isn't is particularly
noteworthy, and the cast doesn't do a lot to shore things
up. Hacken Lee is probably only interesting to die-hard
Hong Kong entertainment fans - and that's more for his
singing than acting prowess. Alan Tam mugs up a storm
in his four roles, and generally does a decent job,
though his pronounced overacting occasionally crosses
the line into annoying. Director Lo Kim-Wah strings
things together with muted sitcom finesse, such that
the whole thing registers as neither necessary or bothersome.
This is just standard fluff with little or no planning
or pretension, and it does its job well enough that
knocking it for its lack of accomplishment would be
unduly harsh. They used to make a trillion movies like
this is Hong Kong. One more on the pile certainly doesn't
hurt. (Kozo 2006)