Review | Chilli Laugh Story movie review: Mirror’s Edan Lui leads Lunar New Year comedy that mixes family antics, naughty jokes and social commentary
- Mirror star Edan Lui’s first big-screen outing engages with the realities of post-protest, mid-pandemic Hong Kong – albeit in the silliest ways possible
- The comedy – which co-stars Gigi Leung and Ronald Cheng – offers something for everyone, from Cantonese wordplay to dirty jokes and pop culture references
Anyone seeking a window on life for the past two years in post-protest and mid-pandemic Hong Kong – a vaguely depressing experience – could do worse than watch Chilli Laugh Story.
An amusing and sometimes unexpectedly poignant comedy, it was intended for release at Lunar New Year before a wave of infections with the Omicron variant of Covid-19 earlier this year scuppered that plan.
Directed by first-time filmmaker Coba Cheng Tsun-hin from a screenplay he co-wrote with comedy veteran Matt Chow Hoi-kwong, Chilli Laugh Story is leaving its spicy impression on the Hong Kong box office. Fans are flocking to see the first big-screen outing of Edan Lui Cheuk-on, a popular member of Canto-pop sensation Mirror.
Upon realising belatedly the amazing flavour of the sauce, made using a secret recipe from his mother’s hometown, Chaozhou in southern China, Coba decides to fulfil his dreams of becoming an entrepreneur by bottling and selling it online.
Cue a lot of bonding and bickering as Cheung’s family crank up production, and temporarily strike gold.
Sandra Ng Kwan-yue, who also produced the film, adds to the festive mood as a wacky and supportive aunt, while emerging actress Angela Yuen Lai-lam, playing Coba’s girlfriend, is underused.
A tip for pop culture fans: do stay until the end to catch some high-profile cameo appearances. Even if these gratuitous instances of fan service leave you cold, Chilli Laugh Story is still worth watching for its willingness to engage with the current reality of Hong Kong, albeit often in the silliest ways possible.