review by Neo

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Power of Alcohol... I mean Love
What start a relationship? You meet someone by chance and then going for a few drinks at the bar and leading towards the moment of sparkle after being drunk. Perhaps, that’s the cliché nowadays of how relationships form? Somehow, none of my relationships started that way, even though I have personally witness a fair few that formed due to alcohol. Perhaps, it is just me, because I prefer my partner sober during the most romantic moments, as it just makes the timing all the more real and all the more memorable. Well, I am just talking about the starting point of a relationship. Director Derek Yee is great director and perhaps, the best director in HK for the last 5 years. He has made original movies that brought audience to tears in Lost In Time, film nourish – One Nite in MongKok and this year – tackling the relevant issues of youth in 2 Young. It is perhaps the most surprising move that Yee would make a formulaic romantic comedy starring the usual pairing of Daniel Wu and the box office queen – Miriam Yeung. Sure, the movie is not ground breaking and probably will not win any awards for originality, but a lesser or weaker Yee’s film is already a good par better than most.

The movie goes like this: Siu-man (Miriam Yeung) is a beer waitress who hardly gets drunk. She always wishes to have her own coffee shop. One night, she sees Michael (Daniel Wu), a chef of a French restaurant, getting drunk. They become friends very soon and Siu-man rents his restaurant to run coffee shop in daytime...

A romantic comedy filmed in probably the most light-hearted manner in Yee’s career, but as light-weight as it seems, Yee once again is able to produce an affecting piece of work filled with issues here and there, despite not being totally engaging as either 2 Young or Lost in Time. Comparison with his previous films will be unavoidable, however, the more the audience forgets about Yee’s previous efforts, and the more they will enjoy this delightful flick. Yee tackles issues that are once again relevant, about how alcohol which has now become a huge part of social life that many relationships started due to it and also ended due to it. While commenting upon the Generation X, such as the issue relating to marriage for those that are in their late 20s and early 30s, Yee highlight the problems of ambitions and marriage.

What I like about this lesser Yee’s entry is that there is a sense of sweetness and romantic feel about the whole flick that makes the entire running time all the more enjoyable. Despite not being original under any circumstances, Yee is able to use cliché; to the point that not only does the audience does not feel any cheesiness, but also creating a terrific overall romantic mood. The issue of how male affected by alcohol say things that they do not normally say when they are sober is extremely true, yet ironic to realize. I don’t know about other people, but in my honest opinion, I just can not picture myself saying to a girl I love – the three words – I love you. Somehow, the words, I like you, can come out, but the word “love” just seems like a barrier between me and her. Perhaps, I haven’t met the one girl that I dream for, or perhaps I have already met her, but nonetheless, even with alcohol I can not picture myself saying the three words. Then again, that will change as I age on…

What Yee once again does extremely well, is basically his realistic portrayal of the characters. The situations and streets and restaurants all seemed extremely realistic and perfectly aided by the casting of the established romantic pair of Daniel Wu and Miriam Yeung. Yeung does well, despite playing a similar role that she has done for the past 3 years, but Yee knows how to make it real, with a simple technique – retrained comedy. Yeung does not go all out, but rather restrained herself and perhaps giving her best performance alongside Dumplings. While there are times that she seems extremely stereotypical of what girls in movies are like, there are also times that she is extremely real and compelling. Daniel Wu continues to mature as an actor and once again plays his role competently and showing great potential of becoming HK Best New Generation Actor.

Reading this, you probably think Neo is against alcohol, but you will be wrong about that, as I do love drinking. Alcohol do affect a lot of people and as much as I do not want to admit, it does help people to open up and far easier to socialize, but then again, it is also a time, where it plays with your mind and leading up to un-wanted responsibility. But really, Alcohol is cool, as long as you do not misuse it. The main reason why most enjoyable romantic comedies failed is due to its stupid and ridiculous ending, but Yee knows better than most. While it isn’t the best ending ever, Yee knows his stuff, a tie between commercialism and pleasing the audience in the widest scale, while at the same time, not being stupid about it. It is what makes the movie all the most romantic and all the more delightful to watch. Perhaps I have seen too many failed romantic comedies, or perhaps, I am forgetting Yee’s previous efforts, whatever it is, or whatever cause it may be, Drink Drank, Drunk succeeded in what it wants to achieve. As I have said, it is Yee’s lesser work and it is formulaic, but nonetheless a definite harmless enjoyable flick, that is, if you lower your expectations. However, it just shows how good Yee is, despite not being able to utilize his talents and also the sad and ironic reality of HK, that as far as romantic comedies are concern, this is just about as good as it gets. But really, lower your expectations with a few drinks and have fun...

I rate it 8/10

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Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: Derek Yee
Cast: Miriam Yeung, Daniel Wu, Vincent Kot, Alex Fong
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), September 2005