Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 19th February 2013
Releasing in cinemas in Hong Kong, 7th February 2013
Director: Vincent Kok
Cast: Sandra Ng, Chapman To, Ronald Cheng, Teresa Mo, Lynn Xiong, Raymond Wong, Fiona Sit, Eric Kot, Karena Ng, Yu Bo, Janelle Sing, Jim Chim
Hong Kong Box Office Takings: HK$19,469,958
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Setting an entire film within a hotel is not something new, as Michael Hui did it to a certain degree in “Funny Business”, the Japanese followed suit in “The Uchoten Hotel” and most recently China scooped in with “Happy Hotel”. The latest Vincent Kok’s lunar Chinese New Year film comes in the same format with “Hotel Deluxe” and follows the same formula as the predecessor, while without the same effect.
There is no denying that Sandra Ng, Chapman To, Ronald Cheng and Theresa Mo have great rapport and an instant undeniable chemistry. The instant chemistry provides the audience with plenty of spontaneous laughters. When the cast is clearly having fun acting, the feeling is easily translated to the audience. However, as a lunar new year film, it feels rather empty and at times losing the Hong Kong flair in the midst of a Chinese co-production. Director Vincent Kok tries hard to keep the film afloat and manages to scrap through with the cast of experienced comedians and Lunar new year films alumni.
Ronald Cheng gets the most screen time and brutally overacts to maximum comic effect. Cheng in recent years have finally reached a stage of maturity and seemingly grown out of the previously castes shadow as Stephen Chow’s predecessor, to be a character actor in his own right. Here we see an extremely likeable Cheng that is funny rather than annoying. Theresa Mo is always wonderful in film like these and provide an excellent presence. Mo in many ways seems to be leading the pack like a mother. Sandra Ng once again impresses the audience by inducing plenty of laughter in her role as the hotel keeper/ cleaner. The man of the moment (2012 in particular), Chapman To is only given limited screen time, but the audience has gotten used to To’s style of antics, that he is funny regardless of what he does. Karena Ng is largely underused and her career seem to be stale since “Magic to Win”. Fiona Sit is essentially Fiona Sit and her sub-plot with Ronald Cheng manages to be most interesting part of the film. Although 2012 was a big and active year for Sit, but none of the roles requires her to go further in her acting depth. It is a shame that Sit’s best work remains her chapter with Jaycee Chan in films like “2 Young” and “Break Up Club”. As usual, what new year film can be without producer Raymond Wong and surprisingly he doesn’t ruin the film with his presence this time around.
All in all, “Hotel Deluxe” is really light weight lunar new year entertainment that manages to be decent due to the calibre its experienced cast and crew. It is a shame that more is not made out of its Hotel premises and director/writer Vincent Kok does not take more leaves out of the Korean and Chinese earlier versions. Still, in terms of light hearted entertainment, “Hotel Deluxe” manages to be decent, if only a little empty. (Neo 2013)
I rated it 6.5/10