Thursday, August 6, 2015

Film Review: King of Comedy (1999)

King of Comedy (Review)
China/1999
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...plenty of laugh-out-loud moments throughout this 90-minute feature..."

Wan Tin-Sau (Stephen Chow) deeply believes in the art of acting and his skill, but can't seem to get out of his roles as an extra...

King of Comedy follows Tin-Sau, an aspiring actor playing small roles as an extra. Whenever an opportunity arises for a grander role, he seems to fumble due to his clumsiness or untamable ambition. Regardless, Tin-Sau is persistent. As he waits for his big break, Tin-Sau meets Piu-Piu (Cecilia Cheung), a hostess with a sassy personality. Tin-Sau begins to teach Piu-Piu how to act in order to get more from her clients — which leads to some sparks of romance in their relationship. The film leads to a satisfying climax and ending.


King of Comedy is a very entertaining drama-comedy. Although it often slows down due to the drama, the film successfully delivers plenty of humor, including Stephen Chow's signature bag of gags. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments throughout this 90-minute feature; whether I was watching Tin-Sau flex his versatile acting chops or slip on a banana, I always smiled or chuckled. I lost it during Tin-sau's romantic gooey romantic scene with Cuckoo. The satirical elements, which spoof John Woo, are also splendid. Also, although the drama elements are a tad slow, they fortunately add some much-appreciated character.

Stephen Chow is wonderful, as usual. Chow is filled with charisma and energy, you can't help but love his quirky and lovable performance. Cecilia Cheung offers a more high-strung energy, but it works out well enough; she's not as fitted for Chow as Karen Mok in Out of the Dark, but she has her fair share of laughs. (her habitual 'work' hugs were great.) Fortunately, although in a smaller role, Karen Mok shines with Stephen Chow as well. Otherwise, the film is technically standard. It looks and sounds great. The print I watched had some shuddering frames and some missing subtitles, particularly for signs and such, but it was otherwise decent. Lee Lik-Chi and Stephen Chow direct this humorous drama. They certainly have a vibe for the art of acting and filmmaking, enough to make a grounded-but-outlandish satire filled with laughs.

Overall, King of Comedy is a great film. There are a few moments that hinder Chow's vigorous energy, but those are easily outnumbered by the laugh-out-loud scenes. Plus, the drama adds a sense of personality to the film — something real and even relatable. It also balances the already versatile humor. On top of that, you get another wonderful performance from Chow and a strong, enthusiastic supporting cast, including Cecilia Cheung and Karen Mok. If you're a fan of Chow and slapstick humor, I think you'll enjoy this one.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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