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Chinese language cinema

Film review: Lucky Fat Man – Bob Lam’s first starring role in zany but misogynistic comedy

Tale of bullied husband wanting to turn his life around is amusing, but the sexism and objectification of women detract from the overall effect

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 3:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 4:14pm

2/5 stars

Now that he’s heading a star vehicle of his own, it may finally be time to acknowledge the freakish appeal of radio host turned comedy film actor Bob Lam Shing-bun, whose combination of cartoonish head and baritone voice is a natural fit for zany, outsider characters with a sensitive soul.

In this casually plotted Hong Kong comedy, Lam plays just such a role as Fat, a kind-hearted but laughably gullible man who’s been stuck with a mentally disabled wife (played by fortune-teller Mak Ling-ling) since he was coerced into the marriage by her evil parents (Tommy Wong Kwong-leung and Anna Ng Yuen-yee).

Long bullied into working at his in-laws’ cha chaan teng for a pittance, Fat becomes determined to turn around his miserable life when he reacquaints with first love Sze (Natalie Tong Sze-wing), also stuck in an unhappy marriage. And then Fat wins the lottery and everything appears to be looking up.

As the latest collaboration between director Jil Wong Pak-kei and writer-producer Patrick Kong Pak-leung (after S for Sex, S for Secrets , Love Detective and Are You Here ), Lucky Fat Man makes decent use of Lam’s peculiar charm, which works even in silly gags that, in one case, see him insistently offer to pleasure Lo Hoi-pang.

But while Fat’s daydreams often amuse, viewers new to Kong’s lamentable gender politics (see also PG Love ) may be shocked to find women portrayed either as mentally unstable, schemers, gold-diggers or sex objects straight out of porn. It’s alarming how relaxed the filmmakers are with using violence against women as punchlines.

Lucky Fat Man opens on January 19

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