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The Fun, the Luck and the Tycoon

Chow Yun-fat stars as Bo, a man born into the richest family in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, his grandmother and aunt have planned an inter-family marriage between Bo and his cousin Cindy (ick!) so that the family fortune stays with its present inheritors. Cindy's all about the money, and Bo himself neither wants the money nor his cousin. So what's the richest man in Hong Kong to do? The old Prince and the Pauper act of going out and living amongst the commoners in secrecy.

An almost direct remake of the American romantic comedy Coming to America (with CYF in the Eddie Murphy role), 1989's The Fun, the Luck and the Tycoon isn't a very funny movie in its own right. But with Chow's comedic skills, along with a cute Yuk as portrayed by Sylvia Chang and a great comedic performance by Lawrence Cheng as love interest Yuk's meddling brother/father (!?), it was an entertaining couple of hours.

For those who know of the Eddie Murphy/Arsenio Hall comedy Coming to America, Johnny To's The Fun, the Luck and the Tycoon's story is almost identical (minus only Arsenio Hall's character and plus a bunch of supporting characters, courtesy of Bo's fast food co-workers). And those of you who don't know the movie, here you go. Continuing from where I left off above, Bo slums it out in the naked city. His first stop is a charity event where he secretly donates a million-dollar diamond necklace, stands around grinning like a moron while a bunch of blind kids sing, and gets mistaken as one of the caterer's waiters. Happily sent to work by a shrill-voiced drunk little gremlin, Bo grins and claps and otherwise takes in the way these ordinary people live and interact. He meets Yuk at the party, gets a job at her brother's fast food restaurant ("East East"), and falls in love. Yuk's brother, in looking out for his sister's financial future, does his darndest to play the match maker between Yuk and a rich jerk while trying to keep the believed-to-be-poor Bo at bay. I'm sure you can see where this is headed, so I'll just save you time and myself a little carpel tunnel and stop now.

Chow continues to amaze me with his ability to be a total goof ass. Could Steve McQueen do that? John Wayne? I think not! It just goes to show his versatility as an actor, playing either the straight man or the idiot. Chow looks like he's having a grand time (especially in his small double role as cab driver "Stink"), and I think that feeling is conveyed to the empathetic viewer.

The bulk of the supporting cast is pretty good. Lawrence Cheng, as Yuk's penny-pinching brother, garners a lot of the laughs. Sylvia Chang as Yuk herself is the cute and timid straight-woman to the whole mess. Nina Li Chi, as spoiled cousin Cindy, makes for a pretty fun priss (almost identical to her character in Fractured Follies). The kid, though. YEESH. I usually hate child actors, and the kid who plays the street-wise (ugh) "Chips" is no exception. His piercing voice rends my nerves, and I'm sure it'll do the same to yours. Other than him though, the actors are cast pretty well.

There's really not much to say here. If you're here, then you're probably a fan of Chow Yun-fat, in which case I don't see any reason you shouldn't enjoy this (anyone curious to see what a pre-Milkyway Johnny To was doing should also check it out). It's not the funniest movie ever, but it wasn't going for that. The attempt was at a nice romantic comedy, and that's what it is.

The Good: I can never get enough of Chow Yun-fat shrieking and running away from mice. Amazingly, he looks just as comfortable prancing about like a ninny as he does sliding down a bannister, filling a punk with .45 slugs.

The Bad: The movie's not really anything to write home about, being lifted over par only by CYF and Lawrence Cheng.

The Ugly: The alcoholic Chips' little romantic subplot. HE'S LIKE SEVEN YEARS OLD, FOR PETE'S SAKE.

Summary - Make no mistake, this Johnny To comedy is pretty standard stuff. But, as always, CYF's charisma carries it the distance.
I have a really hard time not saying The Lun, the... well, I think you can figure out the rest.

"Chow Yun Fat, a rich playboy, is ordered by his grandmother to marry Li Chi of the same family. But Chow doesn't like Li. Accidentally, he is misunderstood as a poor worker under Cheung Ai Ka's father. Cheung and Chow fall in love but her father prefers Cheng Tan Shui, a rich man, to be his son-in-law. This foursome game is a mess-up. Chow's identity is finally revealed in his wedding with Li. Cheung can't accept the fact."

There's nothing that really stands out, but in a rush when everyone's trying to hide from a CID inspector (and each other), seven people all cram under a table in a gag reminiscent of old Marx Brothers movies.

Coming to America
Fractured Follies

DVD and VHS video covers

IMDB's The Fun, the Luck and the Tycoon page

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