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Happy Family
Chinese: 風流家族 "Those are nice shoes."
Nick Cheung and Candy Lo
Year: 2002
Director: Herman Yau Lai-To
Producer: Raymond Wong Bak-Ming
Cast: Nick Cheung Ka-Fai, Candy Lo Hau-Yam, Kenny Bee, Cecilia Yip Tung, Amanda Lee Wai-Man, Monica Lo Suk-Yi, Fennie Yuen Kit-Ying, Sharon Chan Man-Chi, Alfred Cheung Kin-Ting, Marco Mak Chi-Sin, Tats Lau Yi-Tat, Sherman Wong Jing-Wa, Thomas Lam Cho-Fai, Simon Lui Yu-Yeung, Wilson Yip Wai-Shun, Emily Kwan Bo-Wai, Matt Chow Hoi-Kwong, Almen Wong Pui-Ha, Iris Chai Chi-Yiu, Chan Man-Man, Herman Yau Lai-To
The Skinny: Reasonably clever comedy that's entertaining but not inspired or truly noteworthy. Considering that Herman Yau is the director, this movie registers as a disappointment.
by Kozo:

More known for thriller than comedy, director Herman Yau nonetheless changes gears with this offbeat comedy entry featuring an interesting cast and a wacky premise. Nick Cheung stars as Sang, the only son of wealthy celebrity couple Mr. and Mrs. Han (Kenny Bee and Cecilia Yip). He runs their family business while his eccentric parents scheme about how to remain in the public spotlight. They decide to hire a ghostwriter to pen their family memoir, which is entirely fictitious. Meanwhile, Sang meets new office lady Kaka (Candy Lo), who was hired thanks to a recommendation letter from Mr. Han. The two begin a subdued courtship and eventually decide to get hitched.

The thirty minutes leading to that plot point are positively aimless. At first it seems that Herman Yau is aiming for a celebrity satire with the incredibly strange Mr. and Mrs. Han acting like total loons for media attention. However, when the Sang-Kaka romance plotline reaches its turning point, the film's real hook is revealed: Mr. Han spent a good deal of his youth playing around, and one of his many conquests was Kaka's mother (Amanda Lee, playing obviously older than her current age). That means Kaka may be Sang's half-sister. Then things get more complicated, with even more duplicity between the parents and Sang, the media getting involved, gossip at the workplace, and other assorted name cameos.

Herman Yau has created an overstuffed comedy that manages to retain some sense of humor thanks to his even direction. He manages everything with a suitable subtlety and only occasionally goes over the top with his direction. However, the whole thing feels so cheap and unnecessary that calling this film anything other than mildly diverting would feel wrong.

Happy Family has some small positives. The comedy is amiable, Nick Cheung and Candy Lo are surprisingly compatible leads, and Kenny Bee and Cecilia Yip chew scenery like there's no tomorrow. Still, the whole exercise is really unnecessary watching. Nothing about the situations or the production is notable enough to recommend. Fans of any of the leads might find some interest with the film, but those hoping that this follows Herman Yau's more interesting movies (i.e. Untold Story, various Troublesome Night movies, or Nightmares at Precinct 7) should probably look elsewhere. (Kozo 2002)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Widesight Entertainment
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Widesight Entertainment, Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen