The quest to
make more money continues! After last fall's La
Brassiere cleaned up at the box office, the exact
same people (both filmmakers and cast) return to once
again demolish all comers. This time, decidedly male
designers Wayne (Louis Koo) and Johnny (Lau Ching-Wan)
are charged with creating the world's greatest baby
product. As the film is set firmly in movie-land,
Wayne and Johnny should be able come through. Of greater
concern is whether or not the film can succeed.
Having delivered the
world's greatest bra, Johnny and Wayne have gone their
separate ways. Wayne is still involved with executive
Lena (Gigi Leung), but Johnny and Samantha (Carina
Lau, in a cameo appearance) have broken up. Despite
that, Samantha hires Johnny to lead the new baby division
of the female-dominated Sis Group. Their strange Japanese
bosslady (once again played by Chikako Aoyama) has
charged them with creating the ultimate baby product.
Johnny is game, but he needs Wayne. So he goes and
begs his buddy to team up again. Literally.
Wayne agrees to come
on board, but he's leery of working so close to Lena,
who's starting to get ideas of a ring and some wedding
bells. Furthermore, Wayne is totally afraid of babies.
Luckily, the Japanese office sends over baby expert
Boey (Cecilia Cheung), who has supreme baby-communication
skills. Her presence throws the office in an uproar,
as the office gets overrun with tykes, all angling
to be test subjects for whatever wacky design inventions
Wayne and Johnny come up with. Even more, Boey is
eligible competition for Wayne, who's still unsure
of his future with Lena. And, Johnny has a new secretary,
a hyperventilating ditz named Sabrina (Rosamund Kwan,
in a fun against-type performance). Office romance
and political hijinks ensue.
Or at least, that's
what returning directors Patrick Leung and Chan
Hing-Kai (who co-wrote the script with Amy
Chin) are hoping. By assembling the same cast (who
turned in terrific performances in the first film),
and getting Rosamund Kwan and Cecilia Cheung, the
filmmakers have essentially upped the ante. Like all
sequels, the idea is bigger, better, faster and funnier.
The enlarged cast and numerous romantic entanglements
make for more potential comedy, and the film shoots
from one scene to the next with little pause for breath.
Speeding things up is a welcome move, as the film
stuffs so much into its two-hour running time that
it threatens to burst.
However, that's where
the problems occur. What exactly is Mighty Baby
about? Is it about the men discovering who they truly
love? Or, is it about Wayne coming to terms with his
baby phobia? Or, is it about Wayne and Johnny engaging
in histrionic homoerotic rites of friendship? The
safest answer would probably be: all of the above,
because the film tackles all of that and even more.
Time is alotted for child abandonment, screwy nipple-fetish
neuroses, a hilarious office romance subplot, Andy
Lau impressions and even inter-dimensional travel
via one of Wayne and Johnny's failed devices. That's
right: a baby travels into another dimension and returns
with snazzy futuristic duds courtesy of said other
dimension. And then the film cuts to a new scene.
Given all that, it seems
as if the filmmakers had no idea what they were doing,
and passed the time by thinking up new and more bizarre
ways in which to amuse themselves and possibly the
audience. Nothing that happens in Mighty Baby
seems to have any consequence. Johnny and Wayne are
guaranteed women no matter what, and even if they
bicker at the most inappropriate of times (like in
the middle of an important presentation), they're
still going to come out looking and smelling good.
None of the women are going to realize what incredibly
immature doofuses these guys are, and will patiently
wait until the next important presentation, which
is where these guys always make all their big romantic
decisions. And they won't get fired for interrupting
meetings to solicit the affections of women. Yeah,
just like real life.
There are a few moments
that seem to indicate an appropriate direction for
the film. Wayne and Lena must take care of one child
when the mother goes AWOL, and in doing so they confront
their own possible parenthood. The scene might be
a bit hackneyed, but it represents a logical and even
affecting progression for the characters. However,
that moment is sandwiched between a truly bizarre
and annoying subplot involving a screwy hospital administrator
named Dr. Kim (Jim Chim Sui-Man), who engages in nipple
fascination and hypnotherapy. Why does this happen?
Who the hell knows?
At least there's funny
stuff. Many of the gags are laugh-inducing even when
they make no sense. Not that they need to; one of
Hong Kong Cinemas tried-and-true formulas has always
been nonsensical weirdness with big stars acting like
loons. All the actors are extremely game here, and
for the most part they succeed. Louis Koo continues
to show surprising comedic chops, and Cecilia Cheung
is suitably adorable as Boey. Lau Ching-Wan, Gigi
Leung and Rosamund Kwan all have their moments - when
the script and direction help them out. When the filmmakers
falter, they leave their actors without any place
to go, and the resulting scenes are filled with bizarre
and sometimes interminable overacting.
When all is said and
done, it's the actors - and the audience's loyalty
to them - that make or break Mighty Baby. If
the viewer is driven by idol fascination then the
occasional hilarious gag - combined with the abundance
of eye candy - can make the film a passably entertaining
time. And, it must be mentioned that the babies are
amazingly cute. They even seem to act at times, and
frequently upstage big babies Lau Ching-Wan and Louis
Koo. Add all that together and some satisfaction can
be had. But is it a good movie? Uh, not really. (Kozo