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"It's 2pm and we've already hit 3 bars!"

Are they sober? Daniel Wu and Miriam Yeung in Drink-Drank-Drunk.

Chinese: 千杯不醉
Year: 2005  
Director: Derek Yee Tung-Sing
Writer: Derek Yee Tung-Sing, Jessica Fong Ching
Cast: Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah, Daniel Wu, Alex Fong Chung-Sun, Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu, Hu Jing, Ella Koon Yun-Na, Renee Dai Mung-Mung, Toby Leung Ching-Kei, Chin Kar-Lok, Tony Ho Wah-Chiu, Terence Yin, Andrew Lin Hoi, Hiro Hayama, Ken Wong Hap-Hei, Henry Fong Ping, Asuka Higuchi, Tommy Yuen Man-On, Paul Fonoroff
The Skinny: Decent romantic comedy that sags noticeably when it shouldn't. Leads Miriam Yeung and Daniel Wu are likable enough, and the movie itself is an undemanding 100 minutes. However, as a Derek Yee film, Drink-Drank-Drunk is a disappointment. Overall, this is passable fluff.
by Kozo:

Director Derek Yee slums a bit for Drink-Drank-Drunk, a romantic comedy built to make money. Ultra-bankable box-office princess Miriam Yeung is joined by Love Undercover costar Daniel Wu in a commercial film that's perhaps below Yee's talents. Yee excels at natural situations and the stuff that makes up romantic comedies is usually unnatural and even forced. The formula itself isn't truly at fault, and indeed Drink-Drank-Drunk is passable commercial stuff. However, Yee's storytelling instincts are a bit lost on the calculated, manufactured genre that is romantic comedy. The stars are nice to look at, and those looking for an easily-digestible popstar fluff-fest may be charmed. But considering that Derek Yee directed it, disappointment is possible.

Miriam Yeung is Fung Siu-Man, a spunky Hong Kong girl who works as a Budweiser beer girl. For the uninitiated, a beer girl hangs out at local restaurants and hawks her sponsor's beer onto the local patrons. Despite the sordid-sounding job, Siu-Man is actually quite wholesome and is the standard Miriam Yeung type, i.e. mouthy and independent, and in need of a proper boyfriend. Triad tough guy Brother Nine (Alex Fong Chung-Sun) digs her, but she won't be his. Besides the fact that she doesn't like blustery triad dudes, Siu-Man can drink Brother Nine and every other guy under the table. Siu-Man's talent: total alcohol immunity, meaning nobody can get her drunk. Those expecting the movie to hinge on Siu-Man's inability to get drunk had best look elsewhere. Gratefully, this isn't a completely high-concept film.

Siu-Man meets the inebriated Michel (Daniel Wu), a French-Chinese chef who runs a local French eatery. However, business is bad; it seems Michel's dishes are beyond the casual tastes of local Hong Kong residents, so it's closing time. Michel is so broke that he doesn't even have a place to live. Luckily, Siu-Man's apartment is inordinately large for a beer girl, plus she'd like to open her own cafe. She makes Michel a deal: run his restaurant at night, and she'll run a cafe by day, plus he'll get room and board at her flat. For added fun, they can pretend to be platonic roommates after hours. Big surprise: that doesn't happen, meaning audiences will swoon at the sight of Daniel Wu and Miriam Yeung getting it on pretty damn quick. But with the onset of a relationship comes all sorts of new troubles, i.e. commitment, marriage, differing goals, and the requisite romantic rivals. Will Siu-Man and Michel be able to make their cohabitation last?

Drink-Drank-Drunk earns immediate points for being far more real than the usual Miriam Yeung laffer. Yeung is her usual sparkling self, but in comparison to Love Undercover, the world she inhabits is a more realistic one. There's the occasional situation comedy, and some characters are cartoony to the point of distraction. Still, the trials of Siu-Man and Michel touch upon rather familiar, grounded issues, and even the film's more commercial hooks (i.e., Siu-Man can't get drunk) are handled without overdone comedy. The film's major issues are commitment and simple communication, and not overly manufactured circumstance. Some might term this more grounded approach to romantic comedy as boring, but it's also quite refreshing. Even diehard Miriam Yeung fans could use a break from Fong Lai-Kuen.

That is, until it starts to go on too long. It's nice to see Daniel Wu and Miriam Yeung's characters reacting in realistic ways, and true to form, Derek Yee spends time extolling the working class values of Siu-Man. However, at a certain point, some characters stop acting like people and begin acting more like plot devices. Vincent Kok plays Stock Character #14, i.e. the gay best friend who shows up to provide exposition into the main character's life. Likewise, Brother Nine gets a little too sensitive for someone of his roguish nature and becomes a wellspring of relationship advice. When gorgeous (and evil) restaurateur Zhao Jie (Hu Jing) shows up as a romantic rival, everything grinds to a hackneyed halt. The film does end in a predictably audience-pleasing fashion, and most audiences should go home happy. Still, any charm or surprise the film possessed left a lot sooner.

But that's speaking from a position of enlarged expectations. If you ignore the fact that Derek Yee (the guy who made C'est La Vie, Mon Cheri, One Nite in Mongkok, Lost in Time, and even 2 Young) directed this film, then you'll probably be easily satisfied. Drink-Drank-Drunk possesses a homey local charm, and Miriam Yeung and Daniel Wu are both exceptionally likable. Alex Fong is surprisingly effective overacting comic support, and again, the film has a largely real feel. Overall, this is likable and undemanding stuff that should please most undemanding audiences. Those looking for a Derek Yee film might go home disappointed, but that's those pesky enlarged expectations talking again. If you expect too much out of Drink-Drank-Drunk, you could burst a vein from your resulting anger. The alternative is simply to expect very little and enjoy the cinematic equivalent of a lukewarm bath. Sure it's not the greatest experience you'll have, but it's better than nothing. Given the state of all things Hong Kong Cinema, maybe the standard expectations should be reevaluated. (Kozo 2005)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Panorama Entertainment
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

images courtesy of Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen