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All's Well End's Well 2009 (2009) @ 家有囍事 2009

At a glance:
At last, 2009 opens with a real Hong Kong Cantonese movie, to let us forget the blurrin borders of the Chinese movie industry, at least for a little while. The lucrative Chinese New Year season cannot find a worthier money-spinner than All's Well End's Well 2009 a.k.a. 家有囍事 2009, especially when old-timers like Sandra Ng and Raymond Wong are part of the effort. Effortlessly charming and enjoyably illogical, the movie is harks back to the old days of HK filmmakin when characters and actors were often one and the same.
Bad news on the doorstep:
There are no laugh-out-louds in this fourth instalment but there are plenty of giggles. The humour is built on character mannerisms and we can be happy about that, especially when it's the simple overused story on the unfeminine ball-breaker woman who gets played out by a playboy-for-hire only to find love somehow in the end. New mum Sandra Ng plays this ball-breaker, having long been synonymous with all non-traditional women roles in Hong Kong acting. It's always a joy to watch her just stand there and do whatever comes to her mind. However, Louis Koo's romantic roles have never been convincing and in this movie, he is found wanting. The chemistry between them is also forced, just like in the plot. Good thing Happy Ghost Raymond Wong enters the movie halfway to give us another male lead to look at. There's also a cameo for Charlene Choi to look out for but with the exception of Ronald Chen, the supporting characters could have done more if director Vincent Kok cooked up somethin better for their time.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Performances aside, there are many scenes referencin other movies (even Hollywood ones) and Sandra Ng's water-splashin sidewalk dance is rather amusin, not to mention a clever cover-up of who's who involving Sandra's boyfriend in front of her confused parents. The 'mou lei tau' from Stephen Chow's opener in 1992 seems very far away now, with this diverse but controlled humour we are asked to accept. It's like a complete package of 'safe' surprises. Well, let's hope it's going to be a good year then.★★★
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