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Merry Go Round
|     review    |     notes     |     awards     |     availability     |

From left to right: Lawrence Chou, Eric Tsang, Yuki Lai and Vincent Kok.
AKA: Merry-Go-Round
Year: 2001
Director: Thomas Chow Wai-Kwan
Producer: Alan Tam Wing-Lun, Claudie Chung Chun
Writer: GC Goo Bi
Cast: Eric Tsang Chi-Wai, Lawrence Chou Chun-Wai, Rainie Yang (Yeung Shing-Lam), Zeny Kwok, Darren Cheng Dao-Sam, Yuki Lai Yuen-Tung, Law Lan, Kelly Chen, Victor Chan Si-Hong, Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu, Hyper BB, Ann Hui On-Wah, Joe Cheung Tung-Cho
The Skinny: Coming-of-age flick which manages to be winning despite a strained first half. The sentiments are nothing new, and the whole film is relatively minor, but the fresh faces and well-observed script make this an amiable pleasure.
by Kozo:

     Merry Go Round is a welcome break from the usual teen tales out of Hong Kong. Not only is it better-observed than most, but it features zippo in the way of ubiquitous popstars. Eric Tsang stars as Mr. Kuk, who opens a noodle shop with son Fung (Lawrence Chou) and daughter Cocoa (Yuki Lai). Despite some initial setbacks (the location is a dump, and the noodles terrible), the Kuk family make a decent show of things. Too bad they're in a lousy location, but who cares about business? What's important here is not the survival of the noodle shop, it's the puppy love plotlines which are thrown in the face of the audience. Fung falls in love with Carlily (Yeung Shing-Lam), who works part-time for Mr. Kuk. Likewise, little Cocoa finds an affinity with Locust (Darren Cheng), a primary school kid who actually likes the shop's noodles.
     Sadly, love is not so simple. Fung and Carlily fall in young love rather quickly, a point illustrated through a drawn-out "falling in love" montage which plays like a shojo manga Greatest Hits Collection. Still, despite Fung's lightning love for Carlily, he develops a minor attraction to her tomboyish older sister Heman (Zeny Kwok). Heman returns the affection, though equally as reluctantly. Meanwhile, the friendship of Cocoa and Locust putters along with the emotional pull of wheezing jellyfish. One feels left out, the other doesn't notice, and their young friendship hits some minor turbulence. The conflicts and misunderstandings here are simple ones, and sometimes the result is heartbreak and sometimes it isn't. Love grows or dies in alarmingly unnecessary ways; in some ways, it's just like real life, except Eric Tsang plays the father.
     Merry Go Round is based on a series of radio plays created by radio personality GC Goo Bi, who also wrote the film script. Her work possesses a genuine wit, and a keen eye towards the minor trials and tribulations of the kids, who feel very real despite the cheesy setup and sometimes too-cute moments. The lightweight fluffiness of the first half is a little strained (especially during Fung and Carlily's storyline), but the film rights itself for an excellent second half. Not much of import ever really occurs, but the characters grow on the viewer, to the point that the minor hows and whys become of genuine interest. Director Thomas Chow handles things in an amiable fashion, and the kid actors are winning if not sometimes a little stiff. Elder statesmen Eric Tsang and Law Lan (as Locust's grandmother) lend the film some acting cred, and the locations and sentiments are pleasantly realistic. Merry Go Round may not possess the overwrought highs and lows of other teen romances, but the film's innocent charms and familiar minutiae are hard to totally resist. (Kozo 2003)

Notes: • Heavenly Queen Kelly Chen has a small cameo as Fung's ugly-duckling admirer. Also, her brother Victor Chen appears as a cop.
Awards: 21st Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Nomination - Best Screenplay (
GC Goo Bi)
• Nomination - Best New Artist (Lawrence Chou Chun-Wai
8th Annual Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards
• Best Screenplay (GC Goo Bi)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of StarEast Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen