Thursday, August 13, 2015

Film Review: The God of Cookery (1996)

The God of Cookery (Review)
China/1996
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a film that will make you laugh until you're in tears..."

When Stephen Chow (played by Stephen Chow), the self-proclaimed God of Cookery, is exposed as a fraud, Chow must learn the craft to reclaim the title...

The God of Cookery follows Stephen Chow — an egotistical celebrity chef who actually knows very little about cooking. Chow is brought down by his conspiring underling, Bull Tong (Vincent Kuk), and his own business partner. When he spirals downward, Chow finds some aid and hospitality in a food cart owner named Turkey (Karen Mok). With Turkey and her quirky gang of misfits, Chow begins his unpredictable rise to the top. Of course, he faces some opposition from Tong and his former partners, which leads to some very peculiar character development. The film leads to an epic cook-off and a bizarre but satisfying ending. It's certainly out there, but I really enjoyed it.

The God of Cookery is hilarious. If you're a fan of Stephen Chow, you know what to expect. There are plenty of quirky, nonsensical, and slapstick gags scattered throughout. There are even a few crass and vulgar jokes for good measure. The humor is balanced and versatile, offering a wide range of comedy for fans across the spectrum. It even has some surprisingly effective drama and romance elements — more effective than those in King of Comedy, and that film had a much stronger focus on drama. It also felt like this plot had more meat to it — it really felt like it used its 90 minutes efficiently. In other words, God of Cookery is a film that will make you laugh until you're in tears — if the humor doesn't get you, then the romance might.

Stephen Chow delivers an energetic performance as Stephen Chow. He plays the cocky and arrogant character surprisingly well. Karen Mok is wonderful in this role. Her character is very different, but it shows her versatility and undeniable charm — regardless of the circumstances. The supporting cast, which features many familiar faces, is also hilarious. The film looks and sounds great. The only issue I had with this film was some ineffective editing, which affects the perception of time — you don't really know how much time has gone by during certain transitions. This is further hindered by some missing subtitles, particularly for signs and written words, which also causes the audience to miss some jokes. Stephen Chow writes and directs this hilarious comedy. The humor may be nonsensical, but the direction is focused — there's a clear vision and it's conveyed effectively. It's a very balanced package.

Overall, The God of Cookery is an uproarious comedy. It's a film with a wide range of balanced humor and splendid performances. I smiled from beginning to end, and laughed out loud several times — I mean that in a literal sense. If you're looking for something nonsensical and entertaining, this is for you. If you're a Stephen Chow fan and you haven't watched this yet... What are you waiting for?

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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