The world of karaoke is the subject of Matthew Chow's bizarre
comedy. Anita Mui stars as Chu Wai-Tak, a mousy OL (office
lady) who is actually the Queen of Karaoke. Sadly, nobody
knows this because she can't muster the courage to sing in
front of others, and since boyfriend Chin Kar-Lok left her,
she's been in a bit of a rut.
Chu works with King Wong (Dayo
Wong), a loquacious self-proclaimed King of Karaoke, who has
no problems acting like a complete ass in front of others.
Both try out for a karaoke contest, but only Chu makes it
in, despite choking up and puking during her audition. It
seems one of the judges is her romantic rival, and wants to
see her choke in front of a larger audience.
Despondent, Chu turns to King Wong
for training. Having lost his job and apartment, King moves
in with Chu to teach her the ropes. At first, the two grate
on each other, but as the lessons continue the two form something
oddly romantic. Still, Chu doesn't seem to be getting anywhere
and the karaoke contest is right around the corner. And now
the issue of romance pops up, threatening to ruin their budding
friendship and her chances at the contest.
With a plotline like that, writers
Dayo Wong and Matthew Chow have given themselves plenty to
work with. Already a humorous prospect, karaoke is a subject
deserving of a scathingly funny workover. With the focus on
Cantopop and a few familiar tunes (Danny Chan Bak-Keung, Kelly
Chan Wai-Lam, and LMF songs all make an appearance), the filmmakers
could have found a way to truly skewer Hong Kong's pop obsessed
Unfortunately, the film never truly
capitalizes on the subject. Too much time is spent on office
shtick and overacting by both Wong and Mui. The two eventually
find a middle ground where things work, allowing their annoying
performances to give way to some form of endearment, but director
Matthew Chow can't find a way to pull the film together. The
whole thing never really coheres, and we're left with mismatched
scenes and dangling jokes.
Some funny stuff does come up here
and there. The karaoke scenes (especially Wong Yat-Fei's cameo)
play very well, but the overdone characters have a hard time
gaining sympathy. The actors give game performances, but without
a proper structure to work with, their efforts are wasted.
As it is, this movie is an OK curiosity, but it fails at being
a coherent, entertaining whole. (Kozo 2002)