Lunar New Year comedies. They can be funny or unfunny, but usually they’re still crap. So it goes with All’s Well End’s Well Too 2010, the latest in a series of star-jammed junk food films that presume to be worth our laisee money. Brought to us by actor and supposed filmmaker Raymond Wong Bak-Ming, the All’s Well, End’s Well movies possess the same formula no matter when or where they take place. Take a bunch of guys and girls, have them spar for ninety minutes via movie parodies and wordplay, before finally delivering a mega-mega happy ending featuring lots of smiles and singing. This type of unchallenging, family-friendly filmmaking can be money in the bank. So it’s no surprise that they try it out on a nearly yearly basis. If it happens, an actual good time is just a bonus.
Happily, this year you get that bonus. All’s Well End’s Well Too 2010 (Tinh Truong Quy Kien Sau 4) starts in a very flat manner and is still far from quality. And yet it possesses enough giggles to warrant a “good for what it is” evaluation. One might thank director Herman Yau, who helms alongside producer-writer-director-actor Raymond Wong, for making 2010 more palatable than All’s Well End’s Well 2009. 2010 possesses more subdued, less pandering direction than Vincent Kok’s 2009, but there’s still plenty here that doesn’t work. Many jokes are labored, the musical segments can be annoying, and some sequences are the height of boredom. This is formula, though, and it’s rare that a film in this genre can dismount with a solid “10”. All’s Well End’s Well Too 2010 gets a “6” or even a “7” if this genre floats your boat. Relatively speaking, that’s pretty good.
Set-up for Lunar New Year fluff is typically messy and convoluted, so let’s just dive right in. Louis Koo (Co Thien Lac) plays the Emperor, a childish ruler who cares about learning kung-fu and not much else. The Queen Mother (Lee Heung-Kam) wants a grandchild. But the Emperor avoids sleeping with his randy wife (Crystal Tin) in order to retain his virginity. Hope for a future generation rests on Princess Pearl (model Angelababy), but unfortunately she goes missing on her way back to the palace after a decade of overseas education. In a sitcom mixup, the tall Nightingale (Lynn Xiong of Ip Man) ends up at the palace and everybody thinks she’s Pearl. Nightingale plays along, partly because of the palace riches, but also because if she didn’t, there would be no movie. Ergo, she keeps up her unwilling deception and the film continues on its nonsensical way.
It starts out flat and sometimes annoys, but All’s Well End’s Well 2010 still manages laughs and even some surprises. If you hate these types of nonsensical Lunar New Year movies, this one will not change your mind. But if you like unpretentious silliness featuring movie parodies and loony stars, then this should float your boat. Much, much better than last year’s hit All’s Well End’s Well 2009.