Film review: Hotel Deluxe
Starring: Ronald Cheng Chung-kei, Sandra Ng Kwan-yu, Teresa Mo Shun-kwan, Chapman To Man-chat, Fiona Sit Hoi-kei, Raymond Wong Pak-min
Director: Vincent Kok Tak-chiu
Category: IIA (Cantonese)
There are no two ways about it: there are a lot of familiar faces in Hotel Deluxe. The latest Lunar New Year comedy from director Vincent Kok Tak-chiu and producer-actor Raymond Wong Pak-min has a cast that includes three thespians from last year's Vulgaria along with a comic trio who appeared in the first All's Well, Ends Well in 1992.
Set in a 365-room hotel with "five-star hardware but only four-star software", the film is a loosely-plotted, multi-stranded affair with various stories revolving around a number of interesting characters.
One plot line has new executive manager Cruella Koo (Teresa Mo Shun-kwan) determined to whip the existing staff - that includes obliging assistant manager OK Pao (Ronald Cheng Chung-kei), fun-loving chief bartender Pacino (Chapman To Man-chat) and fussy head of housekeeping Miss Peach (Sandra Ng Kwan-yu) - into shape in order to procure a top rating for the hotel.
Another involves two rival actresses - one is a diva whose soft public image hides a hard interior (Lynn Xiong Dailin), and the other is prone to act as quirky as she looks (Karena Ng Chin-yu) - checking into the hotel and demanding the kind of pampering that marks them off from regular folks like the hotel staff who, ironically enough, are played by some of the local film industry's most established names.
A third story thread sees heiress Bo Bo (Fiona Sit Hoi-kei, above left, with Cheng) ask her good friend OK to help her to find a fake groom that her grandparents (Kenneth Ng Yiu-ting and Susan Shaw Yin-yin) will approve of in order to meet the terms of her father's will. In the process they also have to deal with her uncle, Peter Chan (Raymond Wong Pak-min), who wants to get the money for his own purposes.
Along the way to their resolution, these various tales offer up comic scenes guaranteed to tickle one's funny bone, especially if you're a sucker for slapstick.
Linguistic jokes and funny film references also abound in Hotel Deluxe. Sandra Ng Kwan-yu's character has the same name in Cantonese as the one Deanie Ip Tak-han portrayed in A Simple Life and Ng's character's suitor in the movie is named Peter Chan (like her real life partner, filmmaker Peter Chan Ho-sun).
But what makes this film endearing above all is the uniformly game cast's obvious willingness to do whatever is necessary to get their audience smiling, laughing and in good spirits.
Hotel Deluxe opens today