Were you among those who (a) felt like your neck was snapped by the ending of One Nite in Mongkok , (b) felt completely numbed and brutalised by the whole experience or (c) watched it purely for its reputation but didn’t like it. Well, rejoice because Derek Yee has done a 180 back-flip and lightened up considerably with his latest effort, Drink, Drank, Drunk.
Starring the effervescent Miriam Yeung and the currently ubiquitous Daniel Wu, this is charming romantic fluff. Utterly enjoyable and very little of that is guilty pleasure, I might add, Drink, Drank Drunk reminds me of what a successful HK comedy should be, well written gags, good pacing and a big dose of Hong Kong flavour. These are few and far between and I savour every single one.
Although not without problems, this is as undemanding and as you can get with a HK romantic comedy without it descending into a dribbly mess of gimmicky humour. Undemanding isn’t a word often associated with Derek Yee’s directorial work of course, the issues in his films read like the manual on how to get yourself on a depressive bender. C’est La Vie, Mon Cherie, Lost In Time and of course, One Nite in Mongkok aren’t exactly light entertainment. So experiencing Drink Drank Drunk by Derek Yee was somewhat of a surprising and welcome relief.
When I say undemanding I certainly don’t mean it’s shallow or stupid. On the contrary, despite all the usual trappings of the genre, Yee has managed to put his own crafty signatures all over it. The story may be conventional but the execution is slightly eccentric and off centre. Who would insert a seemingly benign scene of toothless grannies sitting on the pavement, commenting on the lovers as they walk by? Yee also employs judicious use of creative visual cues and cuts to deliver the gags and tell the story, more so than your standard comedy. Towards the last act, you could almost detect the Derek Yee serious socio-political beast rising to the surface and be thankful it’s reigned in at the right moment.
As for the people who occupy the frame, Daniel Wu and Miriam Yeung turn on their fuzzy Love Undercover chemistry here and it serves them and the audience well again. However, the show would have surely stalled if it wasn’t for the supporting actors. Vincent Kuk plays the stereotypical gay friend with bitchy glee. And someone please pay Alex Fong Chung Sun double because he turns in a stealing performance as Brother Nine, the small time gangster with a torch for Siu Man, a funny but subtle performace that is frighteningly reminiscent of Francis Ng.
There’s a genuinely well-crafted film here under the romantic comedy window dressing and although not perfect, it works for me.