Wayne Wang returns to Chinatown with Eat a Bowl of Tea, and recaptures the relaxed humor and deep emotions of his earlier Dim Sum in the process.
Pic starts off with Wah Gay (Victor Wong), who runs a New York gambling club, deciding to send his soldier son Ben Loy (Russel Wong) to China to marry the daughter of his best friend. Fortunately, it’s love at first sight between Ben and Mei Oi (Cora Miao), and they marry and return to the States.
Unfortunately, Ben finds the pressures of running a business so severe that his lovelife suffers. Basically, poor Ben is impotent, causing grief to his wife as well as to the couple’s fathers, who eagerly want to become grandfathers.
Enter Ah Song (Eric Tsang), a cheerful, rascally gambler who becomes Mei’s secret lover, and who succeeds in getting her pregnant. But when words gets out that Ben isn’t the father, it’s Wah Gay who tries to restore family honor by attacking Ah Song with a meat ax.
Typically, the aforementioned scene is played for laughs, and indeed is the comic high point of a generally charming and amusing film [from a novel by Louis Chu].