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From left: Andrew Lam, Qian Ying and Johnson Lee in a still from Staycation (category IIA, Cantonese, Mandarin, English), also directed by Lee.

Review | Film review: Staycation – Johnson Lee-directed family comedy is an openly sexist and relentlessly unfunny abomination

TV personality Lee’s film about a family trip features sexual harassment and innuendo, is totally unamusing and could be the nail in his directing coffin

0/5 stars

There are poorly made family comedies, and then there is Staycation, a movie so mind-numbingly abysmal that it makes recent duds such as Meow and Lucky Fat Man look like quality entertainment. A decade after he revealed his filmmaking flair with the indie feature Citizen King , television personality Johnson Lee Sze-chit has all but thrown his directing career away with this travesty against cinema.

Lee also stars as Fai, a product designer who is planning a family trip to a run-down camping site to celebrate the 15th wedding anniversary with his wife (Louisa So Yuk-wa). Joining them are their two children, Fai’s mother (Yuen Qiu), estranged father (Ti Lung, a much better grandad in The Kid from the Big Apple ) and mentally unhinged brother Keung (Andrew Lam Man-chung).

Louisa So and the giant bird in a still from Staycation.

Tentatively a reminder of the importance of family harmony, this incredibly slapdash story also features a giant bird monster, a family from the future (headed by Chin Siu-ho) and a wacky site manager (Law Kar-ying) who might be a serial killer. It is a testament to Lee’s waning skills as a comedian that his film feels more excruciating than dental surgery without anaesthetic.

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And he has the cheek to make this the most openly sexist local film in quite a while. Is sexual harassment funny? Lee certainly thinks so, judging from his very first scene – in which he bluntly gropes a middle-aged woman – or Qian Ying’s random character, who exists solely for Keung to aim his endless stream of sexual innuendoes at. Staycation should have just stayed home.

Ti Lung (left) and Yuen Qiu play the protagonist's parents in Staycation.

Staycation opens on February 1

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