All’s Well, Ends Well: The inspired pairing of Stephen Chow and Maggie Cheung

Your standard Lunar New Year wackiness which gets a lift from the inspired pairing of Stephen Chow and Maggie Cheung.

Raymond Wong produced this typical Lunar New Year comedy All’s Well, Ends Well (Tinh Truong Quy Kien Sau), which features plenty of bad gags, movie parodies and assorted silliness. However, this movie also features an ace cast, including the likes of Maggie Chueng, Leslie Cheung and Stephen Chow. Chow plays Foon, a womanizing radio DJ who gets involved with wacky babe Holli-yok (Maggie Cheung or Truong Man Ngoc) who’s obsessed with American movies. They wander around doing movie parodies until she catches him with another woman and he gets brain damage. Meanwhile, Foon’s brother (Leslie Cheung) is an effeminate floral arranger who engages in a gender-bending battle of the sexes with his cousin, the butch Teresa Mo. The last coupling features Sandra Ng as a frumpy housewife who undergoes an ugly duckling transformation to spite her husband, third brother Raymond Wong. Then there’s hijinks.

To properly evaluate the wackiness that director Clifton Ko has conjured up here would be impossible. To say that this movie is crap would be understandable, but it’s probably some of the funniest crap around. Really, let’s dissect why people see movies like this. It’s the Lunar New Year, they’re in a good mood, so they all go to the movies. At the movies, they’re treated to many big stars acting like complete loons for ninety-some minutes. At that point, all we can ask is the stars be good stars and the lunacy somewhat funny. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Well it works here, and we can give most of the credit to people like Stephen Chow (Chau Tinh Tri) and Maggie Cheung, who have the most enjoyable pairing here. The gags can be tired and the comedy sophomoric, but the two are such engaging performers that we can forgive them the endless parade of movie parodies, from Pretty Woman to Ghost to Terminator 2 to Once Upon a Time in China.

We can also forgive the presence of Raymond Wong. Who insists that he appear in these films alongside real actors (Sorry, Raymond!). Leslie Cheung and Teresa Mo are amusing, and Sandra Ng turns in another fun comedic performance. This isn’t a standout film by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s got enough fun stuff among all the flotsam and jetsam to make it a diverting ninety minutes. It really depends on how good the performers are. And here, they’re pretty good.

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