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Wife From Hell
Chinese: 妻骨未寒 "Honey, I'm really concerned about our careers."
Candy Lo and Andrew Lin
Year: 2006
Director: Law Wai-Tak
Producer: Shin Yoneyama, Sam Leung Tak-Sum
Cast: Andrew Lin Hoi, Candy Lo Hau-Yam, Zuki Lee Si-Pui, JJ Jia, Matthew Chow Hoi-Kwong, Jackie Lui Chung-Yin, Bonnie Wong Man-Wai
The Skinny: Ostensibly a horror film, this supernatural-tinged morality play goes from intriguing to silly in about four seconds flat. Well-meaning, but poorly developed and ultimately forgettable.
by Kozo:

Andrew Lin gets a rare starring role in Wife From Hell, a horror-drama-snoozefest about a man's midlife crisis and the collateral damage that comes with it. The Alive member plays Ken Kwan, who's married to the loyal, sweet May (Candy Lo). Ken apparently could have been a contender in the medical profession, but his wife's medical condition has held him back. Her asthma once cost him a precious overseas internship, and prevented him from becoming a medical superstar. Now he runs a clinic, where he spends his time treating common patients and looking bored.

That's not the end of Ken's marital misgivings. May is sweet and dotes on Ken, but life with her is rather mundane, plus Ken's pal Peter (Matthew Chow) constantly rubs bad marital advice in his face. A grade-A lout, Peter never goes home, is always visiting prostitutes, and offers sage advice extolling the virtues of a dead wife versus a live one. Ken disagrees, but something about his current life obviously gnaws at him; he's often morose around his wife, plus he finds himself attracted to a bar owner (Zuki Lee, bearing an arsenal of come-hither looks), and even considers "going happy" with a local prostitute (J.J. Jia). When a former school chum (Jackie Lui) shows up dangling a rich job opportunity, Ken begins to ask the obvious: is this the life he wants for himself? And what can he do about it?

The answer: nothing, because Ken seems to be a pretty decent guy who actually cares for his wife. However, doubt creeps in enough such that Ken makes a few bad choices, leading to a spiraling series of events that can only be called "just desserts". The development of May's eventual transformation into the "wife from hell" is relatively low-key, and is handled with straight-faced seriousness by director Law Wai-Tak. The material, however, is pretty ham-handed, and only seems sensitive because it's got an obvious moral message. After about forty minutes, the movie joins May in hell, as its narrative starts to become clumsy and sloppy. Many details emerge in supposedly clever or touching ways, but most are simply obvious plot devices. By the time the poorly-edited climax rolls around, it's understandable if you simply don't care.

As Ken, Andrew Lin handles his character's bubbling discontent well, though sometimes the script requires him to act in egregiously laughable ways. Candy Lo is affecting as May despite her relatively minor screentime. The rest of the cast overplays their characters, making whatever suspense exists into unintentional comedy. Wife From Hell is well-meaning in that tries to handle its subject manner without sensationalism. However, some over-the-top emotions might have served the film better than the inert and heavy-handed feelings the film evokes. The payoff ultimately isn't worth the time spent, and the film is hard to recommend even to hardcore fans of the stars. At the very least, the filmmakers tried, and we applaud them for their effort. Sadly, effort isn't everything. (Kozo 2007)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
ERA Home Video
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Deltamac (Hong Kong) Co,, Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen