First impressions can be deceptive. When Drink, Drank, Drunk flashes on the screen with its lurid colours and silly antics, it looks like a gross-out comedy for shopping mall-goers. But luckily the film doesn’t take long to show its true savvy character and reveal itself to be rather fun and intelligent.
A hybrid concoction – a mixture of slapstick and romantic comedy – it is wrapped in the pop urban colours of Hong Kong, set in a catering demi-monde populated by likeable types, in a way that is not too dissimilar from a light-hearted Spanish comedy. The leading character is played by Miriam Yeung, a top box-office draw in Honk Kong who is also a pop star. It’s easy to see why she is popular in her native land. Her smiley face and kinetic girl next door goofiness is the endearing Cantonese equivalent of Jennifer Anniston, including the perfect comic timing.
Yeung plays Siu Man, a beer waitress renown for her resistance to alcohol (her inability to get drunk is the film’s main motif and explanation for the title) who nurtures a desire to open her own eaterie. Opportunity appears in the shape of a drunk and good-looking costumer called Michael (Daniel Wu), a trendy type whose French style restaurant is not going down too well with the less refined local palate (one of a string of jokes on national stereotypes). Siu ends up putting up the drunken Michael for the evening and a romance and business partnership begin. But the restaurant is not the success Siu envisaged it would be and their relationship is threatened by a job offer that Michael decides to accept.
Cartoonish and relentlessly sweet, Drink, Drank, Drunk is a patchwork of well-crafted comic sequences and characterisations with a good dash of camp (and cheese) thrown in. Director Derek Yee, a veteran of the Hong Kong film industry, plays with his material like a child in a playground and his flair for screwball comedy is evident all the way. It may not be the new Chungking Express, but Drink, Drank, Drunk‘s freewheeling humour and accessible artiness is a nice little dose of celluloid Prozac.
Drink, Drank, Drunk is released in the UK on 20/01/06.