All's Well Ends Well, Too

Reviewed by YTSL

Maybe I am just a sucker for the kind of festive slapstick and pop culture reference-filled farces that directors like Jeff Lau, Clifton Ko and Raymond Wong seem to specialize in churning out especially for the time of the year that is for the Chinese what Christmas, Thanksgiving and January 1st would be for Christian Americans if they came in a single package.  In all honesty though, I really don't know who among Hong Kong movie fans would not be.  After all, although they do have flimsy plots and predictable (happy family) endings, these Lunar New Year comedies can't help but at least charm by way of being so chock-full of stars who seem so eager to entertain as well as game for a laugh.

How few qualms do ALL'S WELL, ENDS WELL TOO's cast have about acting silly as well as funny?  Howzabout Leslie Cheung's allowing his Pretty Boy image to be mocked and taken advantage of by his being put in situations where:  A dress-wearing him nearly gets raped by an also feminine-attired Ng Man Tat; and/or a cross-dressing Rosamund Kwan is considered by a giggly bunch of maidens to be a more good-looking man than a male-attired him?!  And what of the rather pretty Teresa Mo willingly going through most of this 1993 film with a large blemish on much of her face, Sandra Ng being happy to play the physically unattractive shameless woman who ends up having crawl in between her wronged husband's legs before he will consider taking her back, Sam Hui delightfully sending up the kind of martial heroes who were the rage at the time, Ricky Hui playing his brother's mother (so convincingly that it took a second viewing before I realized that the maternal character was being played by an actor rather than actress), and producer Raymond Wong making on screen appearances as both a sweet but largely luckless man and -- in a flashback -- another matchmaking mother?!

For those who like to know something about a movie's plot:  ALL'S WELL, ENDS WELL TOO begins with our introduction to a gambling addict named Gut (played in over-the-top fashion by Sandra Ng) who has a brother known as Little Villain Chow Lung (Sam Hui contributes some funny moments of his own).  Upon their returning home after their latest escapade in town, they get informed by their mother (played by, lest we forget, Ricky Hui!) of Gut's having been betrothed before she was even born to the son of a family friend (who soon turns up in the form of Raymond Wong).
The two stars of ALL'S WELL, ENDS WELL TOO who this fangirl was particularly looking forward to seeing do not make an appearance until about the film's 30th minute mark.  Leslie Cheung plays with utter panache a street magician referred to in the English subtitles as David Copperfield (or -- more often -- Copperfeel!) who Sam Hui's character was looking to hire as an entertainer for the wedding festivities.  Rosamund Kwan winningly portrays a woman, who more than one individual ends up being attracted to, by the name of Snow White (but whose true love takes to calling "Mr. Big Eyes"!).
Their story is connected to that of the others by way of Ng Man Tat's character:  A father who -- typical of traditional Chinese fathers! -- is eager to get his daughter married off.  One can also point to this individual being most responsible for convoluting the story because:  He happened to believe Snow White's maid's lies about her mistress having been made pregnant by David Copperfeel...and consequently went about trying to get the magician to do the honorable thing of marrying his daughter...but, while doing so, mistook Little Villain Chow Lung for the man Snow White and her maid were plotting for her to get married to...
While this account gives a good idea of ALL'S WELL, ENDS WELL TOO's line-up and (convoluted) narrative framework, it really doesn't adequately communicate how zany this movie really is or how wide-ranging -- and topical -- are the subjects of its jokes.  But surely that will come across after I point out its being a costume piece in which:  Prestige car symbols appear as ornaments on top of horses' heads; someone contemplates getting plastic surgery in Japan; pictures and verbal descriptions of prostitutes and gigolos available to customers of a particular brothel include those which clearly are of Michelle Yeoh and Andy Lau; the cross-dressing of an individual who DID have a role in 1992's "Swordsman II" is explained away by her having just come back from taking part in a play about "Invincible Asia"; in lieu of electronic beepers, people use frogs as pagers; and a particularly unseemly haircut is pronounced to be "Postmodern" in style?!

My rating for the film:  8.



DVD Information:

Distributor - Ocean Shores

The film is NOT letterboxed - but the transfer is reasonably clean.

No menu - thus no trailer, previews or extras 

Subs - burnt on English and Chinese

Subs often get cropped on both sides - but still it is easy to understand what is going on.