Review: 72 TENANTS OF PROSPERITY 七十二家房客 (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Review: 72 TENANTS OF PROSPERITY 七十二家房客 (2010)

Review: 72 TENANTS OF PROSPERITY 七十二家房客 (2010)

In this quasi-sequel of sorts to the Shaw Brothers classic THE HOUSE OF 72 TENANTS (1973), the movie opens during the 1970s where Ha Kung (Justin Lo) and Shek Kin (Raymond Lam) help the group of 72 tenants of Mongkok's Sai Yeung Choi Street defeating ruthless landlord Tai Chi-Bing (Lam Ka-Tung) and landlady Aunt Three (Charmaine Sheh), while coincidentally rescue Pinky (Fala Chen) from a planned forced marriage to Chief Police Officer Chan (David Lo). Since then, both sworn brothers fall for Pinky and they made a deal by flipping a coin. Ha wins the deal and gets to marry her in the end. Forty years has passed, and the sworn brothers become sworn enemies. Both of them, Ha (Eric Tsang) and Shek Kin (Jacky Cheung), continue to clash against each other in a fierce competition selling mobile phones in the same street they have lived all these years. While they keep competing for each other with their various "dirty tactics" (e.g. using bikini-clad models and mobile massage) to sell more mobile phones, everyone else starts to complain about the recent sudden attack of an unseen culprit throwing bottles of acid from the rooftops. They suspect it has to do with a potential villain in the form of a Mainland property developer (Leung Tin) who is looking forward to buying up the entire Mongkok's Sai Yeung Choi Street and evict the locals. On the other side of the story, Ha's son (Bosco Lam) falls in love with Shek's daughter, Jade (Stephy Tang) who is recently returned from Japan working as an AV assistant director. And there's Ha's daughter, Ha Nui (Linda Chung), a Wing Chun expert who is unexpected falls in love with Shek's son, Kin Chai (Wong Cho-Lam).

REVIEW: Unlike the '90s, it's hard to find a decent Chinese New Year ensemble comedy these days but it's quite a surprise that 72 TENANTS OF PROSPERITY proves to be a delightful viewing experience. Best of all, it boosts with some uniquely Hong Kong flavour, some winning casts and of course an ensemble comedy that is both genuinely funny and entertaining altogether.

The good news about this movie is the way how actor-producer-director Eric Tsang playfully making fun of local issues and culture of a typical Hong Kong society -- ranging from everything to shopping, eating, triads, recycling and of course, a hot-button issue regarding about acid attack. Dialogues are mostly funny and catchy enough, thanks to the clever Cantonese wordplay. Some of the actors are great, particularly for Eric Tsang, Jacky Cheung, Anita Yuen, Linda Chung and Wong Cho-Lam. In addition to that, it's also fun to spot the stars here (which is a record of 174 actors in a single movie!)

Despite all the good stuff, the movie remains a mixed result. Parodies by the likes of IP MAN (2008), with Linda Chung imitating as the Donnie Yen stand-in, and Michael Tse's reprising role of TVB's Laughing Gor (again), tries hard to be funny but only ends up being forceful. There are also times that the jokes are unfunny while some of the cloying moments tend to get too awkward. Not only that, scenes that suddenly burst into song-and-dance moments  (particularly the last part) tend to get annoying as well.

Though it's hardly a certified classic by any means, 72 TENANTS OF PROSPERITY remains fun enough for the masses.

72 TENANTS OF PROSPERITY is witty if forgettable ensemble comedy that makes fun of today's hot-button issue and the overall culture of Hong Kong society.


Anonymous said...

crz: something to laugh about...overall feel is very TVB

casey said...

as a matter of fact, it was intended to be TVB style! I agree with you. Of all those star-studded ensemble comedy come out from Hong Kong, this gotta be something