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Lucky Star 2015


(left) Ella and Wen Chao, and (right) Wong Cho-Lam and Dada Chen in Lucky Star 2015

Chinese: 吉星高照 2015  
Year: 2015
Director: Ching Long

Eric Tsang Chi-Wai, Shan Dongbing, Jiang Baoshan, Lu Hongshi

Writer: Anthony Chan, Peng Yanwen

Eric Tsang Chi-Wai, Wong Cho-Lam, Wen Chao, Ella, Dada Chen, Yuen King-Tan, Yuen Qiu, Louis Yuen Siu-Cheung, Tin Kai-Man, Wong Yat-Fei, Tats Lau Yi-Tat, Jessica Jann, William@Lollipo, Fabien@Lollipop, A-Wei, Wen Xiang, Xia Dehua, Ng Wai-Lok, Jerry Koo Ming-Wah, Owen Cheung, Wu Ke, Cliff Chan, Edward Chui, Cecilia So, Peter Lai Bei-Tak, May Chan Ka-Kai, Si Ming, Yu Mo-Lin, Ken, Liu Fan, Cheng Man-Fai, Fung Min-Hun, Gabriel “Turtle” Wong Yat-San, Ai Wai, Felix Lok Ying-Kwan, Andrew Kwok Hon-Chu

The Skinny: Supposedly inspirational tribute to Stephen Chow offers many humorous Chow references but also plenty of unfunny and uninteresting stuff. Ultimately, this is a below-average attempt at a Lunar New Year Comedy. Spoiler but also a necessary adjustment of your expectations: There is no Stephen Chow cameo.
by Kozo:

In intent if not result, Lucky Star 2015 is a classic Lunar New Year Comedy. Please note the clause at the beginning of that sentence. This star-packed (or at least semi-big name-laden) affair stars Stephen Chow soundalike Wen Chao as, uh, Wen Chao, a wacky dude who loves Stephen Chow so much that he apes the Kung Fu Hustle director’s voice and mannerisms. Wen Chao travels to Hong Kong thanks to Cho-Lam (Wong Cho-Lam), a Hong Kong talent manager who specializes in finding gigs for actor lookalikes. Cho-Lam’s employee stable includes dudes who possess vague resemblances to Chow Yun-Fat, Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse, Julian Cheung and Jay Chou, among others, and Wen Chao joins up in exchange for help in getting Chow’s autograph. Cho-Lam sends Wen Chao to meet with a bunch of ex-Stephen Chow cronies like Wong Yat-Fei and Tin Kai-Man while Cho-Lam’s sister, Cho-Hung (Ella of S.H.E.), spars with him sassily. Along the way there are funny jokes. Supposedly.

Lucky Star 2015 seems poised to be about Wen Chao’s quest for a Stephen Chow autograph, with hopefully an actual Chow cameo at the end. Not a spoiler but the filmmakers were not able to book Chow despite many appearances from his friends and co-stars. Smartly, the story moves away from its “Chow will appear!” expectations by offering more subplots, including one about Cho-Lam securing funding for a film starring his lookalike employees, and also a couple of romances, one between Wen Chao and Cho-Hung and the other between Cho-Lam and sexy starlet Pik Pik (Dada Chen). Not so smartly, the other subplots bore and the romances are uninteresting – especially Cho-Lam and Pik Pik’s, which occasionally goes for seriousness while also making a crass reference to a public washroom sex scandal involving a TVB starlet (every day is a slow news day in Hong Kong). Even the best Lunar New Year films sell romance, but they wisely concentrate on the shtick rather than the sap.

Some of the Stephen Chow parodies are inspired in how incredibly obscure they are. Lucky Star 2015 mines the most minor of Chow minutiae, and the extreme depths to which the film reaches for Chow references is to be admired. The jokes themselves are not that great, but when a character asks what the phone number was on the fake video sent by Sing to the God of Gamblers in God of Gamblers II and someone actually knows the answer – well, you can tell the filmmakers either did their homework or are creepy insane Chow fans. To be fair: “Creepy insane Chow fan” actually describes many Hong Kong people, who’ve seen so many Chow movies re-run on TVB that his one-liners and sardonic delivery have become culturally ingrained. At one point, a character likens the rarity of seeing Stephen Chow to “seeing God,” and it doesn’t come off as outrageous fanboying. If this film were a tribute to Chapman To, then that would be ridiculous, but Stephen Chow? I won’t argue.

Unfortunately, director Ching Long can’t keep his cleverness going; pace sags far too often, and many jokes die on the vine. Lucky Star 2015 lacks real verve or surprise, and its pandering to Stephen Chow fans is not enough to compensate for its deficiencies. Also, performances are uneven. Ella and Eric Tsang overact without apparent direction, while Wen Chao and Wong Cho-Lam are weighed down by expository dialogue and moments of attempted reflection. Dada Chen once won a Best Supporting Actress award but this film hardly supports that accomplishment. The built-in excuse for Lucky Star 2015 is that you can’t expect much from it considering that it’s a slapped-together product that’s predicated on being completely derivative. When a film’s goal is to reference better films, you shouldn’t expect something all that good. Instead, we should reserve our raised eyebrows for the director’s screen credit, which states that Lucky Star 2015 is “An inspirational film by Ching Long”. Haha, really? Looks like there’s another gap between intent and result. (Kozo, 8/2015)

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