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It's a Wonderful Life 
Year: 1994
Director: Clifton Ko Chi-Sum
Producer: Raymond Wong Bak-Ming
Writer: Raymond To Kwok-Wai
Cast: Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Raymond Wong Bak-Ming, Fung Bo-Bo, Teresa Mo Sun-Kwan, Anita Yuen Wing-Yee, Lau Ching-Wan, Carol "Dodo" Cheng Yu-Ling, Kwan Tak-Hing
The Skinny: Agreeable Lunar New Year comedy that's actually quite annoying in its inanity. Still, the whole thing is so harmless that hating it would be like kicking a small dog.
by Kozo:
    This warm and fuzzy family comedy is a pleasant, amusing diversion with all the typical HK New Year’s elements: big stars, loose plot, and gags that are occasionally funny, but also fall flat all over the place.
     The plot: Tony Leung is a stuttering comic book artist who loves lovely schoolteacher Anita Yuen. However, frigid sister Carol Cheng disapproves of the union, but is undone by a budding romance with creepy family friend Lau Ching-Wan. Lau really wants rebel daughter Teresa Mo, but she pretends to be in love with her bohemian pal Leslie Cheung to avoid the situation. Cheung becomes everybody's whipping boy because they think he's a bohemian layabout, but eventually he turns out to be so nice that everyone changes their minds. Also, Raymond Wong shows up  in a Mrs. Doubtfire parody. He's a dad who wants to see his daughter so he dresses up like a housekeeper to fool ex-wife Fung Bo-Bo. And if that weren't enough, there are Jurassic Park musical sequences (?) and a major supporting role for Master Kwan Tak-Hing, possibly the most famous Wong Fei-Hong in Hong Kong Cinema history. 
     As a Lunar New Year film, this exercise is a successful one because it gives everyone the formula they want: big stars, wacky shtick, movie parodies, and inoffensive comedy. Unlike the overbearing works of Wong Jing, this manufactured chuckler is only mildly annoying. These New Year films don't truly aspire to more, so maybe the only real way to review them is via box office performance. In that case, this movie was a resounding success, grossing more money that I'll ever see in my lifetime. It's a Wonderful Life is ultimately tolerable, like taking a lukewarm bath. If the English title of this movie is unfamiliar then you should really wake up from that coma. (Kozo 1995)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Widesight Entertainment
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
English and Chinese subtitles
image courtesy of Widesight Entertainment
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