Entertaining in fits but diluted by its uncertain tone and lack of structure, black medical comedy "Help!!!" plays like a Hong Kong melange of "E.R.," "The Hospital" and "MASH," capped by a tagged-on third act.

Entertaining in fits but diluted by its uncertain tone and lack of structure, black medical comedy “Help!!!” plays like a Hong Kong melange of “E.R.,” “The Hospital” and “MASH,” capped by a tagged-on third act. Made by essentially the same team as last year’s local champ, the romantic comedy “Needing You … ,” but failing to replicate its B.O. success, “Help!!!” is OK latenight fare for Western fests.

Hong Kong heartthrob Ekin Cheng plays Joe, a surgeon who quit his job to become an ace car mechanic and is lured back to working at the chaotic Sir Ho Kau Kei Hospital by young nurse Yan (Cecilia Cheung). She was inspired to join the profession when Joe — or maybe his buddy, Jim (Jordan Chan) — thoughtfully took out her appendix by operating below her bikini panty-line, and she now promises to marry the one responsible. Energetic mix of macabre jokes and running gags climaxes an hour in with an organ transplant sequence involving identical adult quadruplets; pic then jarringly reunites all the leads to rescue Yan, trapped in a spectacular auto pile-up in the rain, in a scene that’s almost from a different movie.

Help!!!

Hong Kong

Production

A China Star Entertainment Group release of a China Star/One Hundred Years of Film Co. presentation of a Milkyway Image (H.K.) production. (International sales: China Star, H.K.) Produced by Charles Heung. Executive producers, Johnnie To, Wai Ka-fai. Directed by Johnnie To, Wai Ka-fai. Executive director, Law Wing-cheong. Screenplay, Wai, Yau Nai-hoi, Ben Wong.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Cheng Siu-keung; editors, Law, T.L. Yun; music, Raymond Wong; art director, Jerome Fung; costume designer, Silver Cheung; action director, Cheng Ka-seng. Executive in charge of production, Catherine Chan. Reviewed on videodisc, London, Nov. 11, 2000. (In Berlin Film Festival -- Forum.) Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Ekin Cheng, Jordan Chan, Cecilia Cheung, Raymond Wong, Hui Siu-hung, Lam Suet, Bonnie Wong, Lam Kau, Emma Ong, Yvonne Ong, Baby Lau. (Cantonese dialogue.)
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