Film review: The Yuppie Fantasia 3 – Lawrence Cheng reprises role in relationship comedy sequel
The actor, who also directs and co-wrote this follow-up to 1990’s Brief Encounter in Shinjuku, injects surprising nuance as he portrays a callous executive sleeping with his young secretary, played by Chrissie Chau
Entertainment veteran Lawrence Cheng Tan-shui played his most celebrated movie role in the popular 1989 relationship comedy The Yuppie Fantasia and its sequel, Brief Encounter in Shinjuku (1990), as an emotionally capricious man who’d felt so emasculated by his bossy wife Ann (Carol “Dodo” Cheng Yu-ling) that he sought a legal separation and haltingly engaged in a series of affairs.
Having ended a 20-year hiatus from the director’s seat with 2014’s Break Up 100 , Cheng might initially seem at risk of tarnishing his Yuppie Fantasia legacy with this reboot, which is wilfully misrepresented by its marketing campaign as a Lunar New Year comedy – and notably sees the co-screenwriter, director and star work intimately with two sultry actresses best known for their busty frames.
Yet Cheng does appear to have put quite a bit of heart into the story, which finds his once-pathetic Leung Foon transformed into a callous corporate executive sleeping regularly with his much younger secretary (Chrissie Chau Sau-na). When his 21-year-old daughter (newcomer Larine Tang Yuet-ping) – taken away by Ann at age eight – shows up with her mother’s ashes, Leung must learn to be a better man again.
While Chau endears as an independent woman (albeit often clad only in lingerie), and Tang’s part echoes Leung Foon’s immature dating pattern in previous films, it is the protagonist’s expression of grief towards his wife – digitally resurrected with archival footage – that gives this film unexpected nuance. The Yuppie Fantasia 3 is no masterpiece, but at least it doesn’t bring disgrace to the brand.
The Yuppie Fantasia 3 opens on January 26
Want more articles like this? Follow SCMP Film on Facebook