Review: CROSSING HENNESSY 月滿軒尼詩 (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Review: CROSSING HENNESSY 月滿軒尼詩 (2010)

Review: CROSSING HENNESSY 月滿軒尼詩 (2010)

Loy (Jacky Cheung) is a forty-something underachiever who spends most of his time slacking around and likes to sleep a lot. He still lives with his widowed mother (Paw Hee-Ching) and helps run the family's air-conditioner business. His mother has increasingly fed up of watching him fooling around and desperately wants him to get married as soon as possible. And so she sets up a date with Oi Lin (Tang Wei), who helps her uncle selling toilets and bathroom appliances down the Hennessy Road. But the problem is, both of them doesn't exactly want to meet each other. On the other hand, Oi Lin already has a boyfriend, Xu (Andy On) who is about to be released from prison. Adding the complication is Loy's ex-girlfriend, Mina Siu (Maggie Cheung Ho-Yee) who reappears in his life and somewhat misses their moment being together. On the other side of the story, Loy's mother is facing a problem of her own when she learns her sister (Mimi Chu) is somewhat falling for Uncle Ching (Danny Lee).

REVIEW: Judging from its breezy trailer, Ivy Ho's CROSSING HENNESSY is easily seen as a romantic comedy that sees stars Jacky Cheung and Tang Wei falling in love for each other. But thanks to its misleading marketing campaign, the movie is more of an unconventional dramedy that focuses on a slice-of-life quirky melodrama between a small scale of characters in Hong Kong's Hennessy Road. The movie's non-commercial approach is something unique of the norm. Unfortunately, Ivy Ho's surprisingly lacklustre direction, the bizarre mix of hugely odd and mundane undertone, and the languid storyline that doesn't quite find a proper footing -- makes this would-be otherwise decent little movie a huge disappointment.

The good thing about this movie is its believable and unglamorous characters in an authentic setting. There is nothing fairy tale-like at all as Ivy Ho paints a day-to-day picturesque life of Hong Kong's Hennessy Road and how the local people goes on with their equally mundane life on and off. The cast is also especially pleasant to watch for. Seasoned veterans including Paw Hee-Ching's lively performance as an obsessive mother with sassy attitude; Mimi Chu's poignant role as a lifelong spinster, and it's nice to see the long-missed Danny Lee in a subdued, yet charming performance. Another supporting actor, notably Andy On is surprisingly credible as a hot-tempered guy who likes to solve every of his problem through anger and violence.

Except for Jacky Cheung, who supposed to be the main highlight of the cast, is very disappointing here. The biggest problem about his appearance that he is rather miscast as the forty-something underachiever who behaves like an overgrown child. Try as hard as he may, he doesn't look convincing enough to pull off such demanding role and most of the time he ends up looking more pathetic to watch for.

Of all the cast, it is Tang Wei who made the biggest impact here. One of her biggest achievements here is that she speaks her own Cantonese dialogue without the typical aid of sloppy audio dubbing often plagued in local productions, and she does so with equal success. Her laid-back attitude and girl-next-door attitude is certainly very delightful to watch for, and whose porcelain beauty is so pleasing you can't afford to take your eyes off her. This is no doubt a memorable performance for her that she proves to be no fluke after her hugely controversial turn in 2007's LUST, CAUTION.

Ivy Ho's screenplay is heavily uneven, with especially romance to be seen between Loy and Oi Lin. While there are worthwhile moments of such toward the end, especially in an unconventional but sweet ending where they finally rekindled their mutual relationships together in a coffee shop but too bad there are just too late and too little to be justified as a coherent whole. The story isn't really funny either, with some of them looks very forced. Odd scenes like the one involving all those painfully unfunny dream sequences of Loy's deceased father (Lowell Lo) and a mysterious Indian man (Gill Mohindepaul Singh) are awkwardly displayed and seemingly out of place.

Jacky Cheung's jazzy tune, Lucky in Love, which played in the end credit is no doubt breezy enough to complement the laid-back nature of this movie. Except that everything else are mostly half-baked.

Despite Tang Wei's delightful performance and strong supports from seasoned veterans, CROSSING HENNESSY is pretty much a disappointingly languid slice-of-life dramedy.

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