Goodbye Darling

Reviewed by YTSL

There are some movies which -- for better or worse -- leave you with everlasting memories.  Then there are those like this slapsticky Cinema City comedy which make for not unpleasant viewing but nevertheless constitute largely forgettable fare; so much so that less than twenty four hours after I watched it, I can't remember all that many details about it anymore!

Fortunately, GOODBYE DARLING!'s plot-line is simple enough to remember as well as it was to follow:  I.e., it concerns a man who mistakenly believes that he has breast cancer (he overheard a phone conversation his doctor had about an elderly woman patient and thought that he was the person being discussed) and therefore only six months left to live, who sets out to satisfactorily settle all his affairs before he dies.  While this might sound like the subject of a melodrama rather than a comic movie, it should be realized that this well-meaning but deluded man's primary concern is to ensure that his much loved wife has a good husband to care for her after his death...while all the while keeping her in the dark about his impending death.  So, together with a good friend of his, he proceeds to doggedly look for the perfect man to replace him and, upon finding what he concludes is an ideal candidate, goes out of his way to try to orchestrate that man and his wife's meeting and their falling in love with each other.
As one might imagine, quite a few funny things happen along the way to alternately hamper and facilitate these self-sacrificing plans.  The movie is also replete with silly -- yet sometimes amusing -- incidents that do seem rather incidental to the main story other than in terms of their helping it get sufficiently stretched and rendered complicated enough to fill up one and a half hours of film.  The same could be said with regards to quite a few of GOODBYE DARLING!'s minor characters, who include:  A lewd colleague; a lecherous boss; his dominant as well as domineering wife; a couple of homophobic, AIDs-fearing middle-aged matrons; the protagonist's wife's easily shocked virgin friend; and her Triad boss brother (the last of whom is played by a generally straight acting Michael Chan).
Although GOODBYE DARLING! is rather low-brow in tone, it is given quite a bit of class and charm by the beloved wife's coming in the form of Cherie Chung (who often gets very lovingly filmed wearing stunning outfits, notably those she puts on for a formal "do" organized by her husband's company and for a "dinner date" with her husband's hand-picked successor).  Before women feel visually gypped because of the 1987 movie's main man being essayed by the bespectacled yet funny-faced Raymond Wong (who also is this effort's director and producer) and his best friend being portrayed by the somewhat bizarre as well as disheveled looking John Sham, it will be pointed out that the actor who plays the prize pick, Mark Cheng, is not only quite the dish but also given more than one opportunity to go bare-chested and reveal his rather nice body!
One of the things about the Hong Kong movie world that never ceases to amaze me is the versatility of many of its representatives.  For example, although GOODBYE DARLING! is light years away in style as well as content -- and, in all honesty, quality -- from "Peking Opera Blues", one year after making that seminal work, here are Cherie Chung and Mark Cheng together in a film again.  If this is not already surprising, what of the shock that comes from realizing that someone who I have only seen on screen as a bumbling fool prone to high pitched hysteria (My first sighting of John Sham was in "Yes Madam!") is also a respected film producer (including of "Royal Warriors" and "I Love Maria!")?  One thing I can pretty much guarantee is that:  After seeing him in farces like this, "All's Well, End's Well" and "It's a Wonderful Life" (all of which he also had some kind of behinds-the-scenes involvement), it will be hard to contain one's giggles upon watching Raymond Wong seriously talking up "The Bride with White Hair" -- in his capacity as its producer -- in the "making of" special that precedes that work on some Tai Seng videos!

My rating for this film:  6.