Review: ‘Good Times, Bed Times’

The same Hong Kong writing-helming team that put B.O. bounce into "La Brassiere" turns its comic gaze on a further aspect of masculine insecurity -- impotence -- again starring Louis Koo and Lau Ching-wan as two hapless males surrounded by determined femmes. Pic is ideally suited for Asian-friendly events, where the copious in-jokes will register.

The same Hong Kong writing-helming team that put B.O. bounce into “La Brassiere” turns its comic gaze on a further aspect of masculine insecurity — impotence — in “Good Times, Bed Times,” again starring Louis Koo and Lau Ching-wan as two hapless males surrounded by determined femmes. Less vaudevillian in its humor, but with a stronger pair of distaff thesps this time round, pic is ideally suited for Asian-friendly events, where the copious in-jokes will register. Locally, pic grossed a sturdy HK$20 million ($2.5 million) late this summer.

Perma-tanned hunk Koo plays super-cop inspector Paul Ko, who’s chosen as an advertising mascot for Hong Kong’s police force. However, he finds his sudden popularity is a double-edged sword: His boss (Lee Lik-chee) won’t allow him on any dangerous missions and he can’t go near any of his adoring female fans for fear of favoritism.

When tabloid journalist Carrie Wat (actress-singer Sammi Cheng) is assigned to investigate rumors that Paul is actually impotent, the pair discovers that they had a teenage crush on each other years earlier. And when Carrie accidentally sits on his lap during their interview, she turns in an article that isn’t to her editor’s liking. Little does she know that was actually a canister of mosquito repellant in Paul’s pocket.

Meanwhile, Carrie’s former b.f., womanizing magistrate Raymond Chow (Lau), has been targeted by Tabby (Charlene Choi, half of femme singing duo Twins), a sexually upfront wannabe model. But even when Tabby ends up naked in his own bed, Raymond is fearful of reciprocating her advances, as — in a neat ref to Twins’ own teasing sexuality — she looks considerably younger than she actually is.

When Carrie and Paul end up in the sack in Japan, where she’s digging up some muck on two Hong Kong celebs (Tony Leung Kar-fai, Sandra Ng), Carrie discovers that the rumors about Paul are true. So she reluctantly turns to Raymond for help in curing Paul’s problem.

Chan’s screenplay never properly dovetails the two couple’s stories into one cohesive whole, spending most of its time shuttlecocking back and forth. Individually, however, the two strands have some delicious moments of romantic comedy, with Cheng doing her laid-back ditz shtick to perfection and Choi (as in her previous solo outing, “My Wife Is 18”) pushing her under-age look to the limit. (Canadian-born thesp is actually 20.)

Where “La Brassiere” comically subverted Koo and Lau’s masculine images by having them go round in women’s falsies, here the joke comes from casting matinee idol Koo as a sexual non-achiever and Lau, not a prototype romantic lead, as an incurable lothario. Like the movie as a whole, Lau’s relaxed perf takes a while to register, but hits its stride in a delightful sequence in which Raymond puts Paul through some fake “Iron Crotch” kung-fu.

Tech credits are smooth, including a John Woo gunfight parody explaining Paul’s psychosexual problem. Co-helmer Leung began his career as an assistant to Woo.

Good Times, Bed Times

Hong Kong

Production

A China Star Entertainment Group release of a Sil Metropole Organisation, China Star, One Hundred Years of Film presentation of an Icon Pictures production. (International sales: China Star, Hong Kong.) Produced by Charles Heung. Executive producers, Chan Hing-kai, Amy Chin. Directed by Patrick Leung, Chan Hing-kai. Screenplay, Chan.

Crew

Camera (color), Cheung Man-po; editor, Cheung Ka-fai; music, Chiu Tsang-hei, Anthony Chue; production designer, Bruce Yu; art director, Ringo Fung. Reviewed on videodisc, London, Oct. 12, 2003. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Sammi Cheng, Louis Koo, Lau Ching-wan, Charlene Choi, Tony Leung Kar-fai, Sandra Ng, Lam Suet, Lee Lik-chee, Tats Lau, Nikki Chow, Jim Chim, Pinky Cheung.
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