The title of this film is something the director’s husband will never, ever say.
I actually don’t know if Shirley Yung is married or not. But I do know she wrote and directed Angel Whispers. And she wrote Daughter.
But I watched My Wife is a Superstar anyway.
Even though it starred the same two people who were in S for Sex, S for Secrets, which was S for Shit. Or S for Shirley Yung Produced This Movie. So don’t say I never do anything for you.
And besides, let me get this out of the way now: My Wife is a Superstar actually isn’t all that bad. It’s no cinematic triumph, but taken in the context of the people who made it, it’s practically Lawrence of Ap Lei Chau.
Pakho Chau and Annie Liu are a married couple. Lai Mo is a photographer who dreams of going off to cover wars like his hero Robert Capa. Chu Ki (get it?) is a struggling actress who, like so many aspiring female thespians, idolizes Audrey Hepburn.
In the film’s opening, she struggles with accepting the throwaway role of a prostitute in a local film. Which is ironic, because Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic role was playing a woman who entertained men for money.
Go lightly on the shaft, will ya honey?
But never mind that tawdry nonsense. As the trailer will tell you, the central story is that Lai Mo, having been demoted at work, is tasked with discovering the identity of Chu Ki’s rumored husband. Yes, he has to discover himself.
No, not like that.
While doing that, he also has to deal with the strain her blossoming career (and the restraints of fame) place on their marriage. Not to mention Alex Lam circling Chu Ki like a wealthy, handsome shark. He’s giving this new starlet a big opportunity (that’s not a euphemism) to star in his upcoming Chinese New Year movie.
No one strained themselves writing this movie.
They didn’t even stretch.
My Wife is a Superstar was written by Jacky Chan. No, not that one. Jacky Chan Cheuk Yin. The same person who wrote See you in YouTube. And Trick or Cheat. And was one of the half-dozen writers of Angel Whispers.
But I watched My Wife is a Superstar anyway!
Like I said before, it’s nowhere near as bad as it scientifically ought to be. Don’t get me wrong; there’s a lot wrong with this movie. It doesn’t start off well.
But neither did my marriage, so who am I to talk?
There’s a Wong Kar Wai parody that’s funny in patches. Lee Sheung Ching sends up Wong Kar Wai easily enough, but there’s not a lot of energy or thought put into the idea (or anything else in the movie).
Speaking of which, there’s a scene involving a restaurant holdup where the guns involved are painfully obvious as toys. You can easily see the orange tips, And yet, the ‘robbers’ are taken seriously. Maybe it’s supposed to be funny, but… it’s not.
It’s just dumb.
A couple of times, CGI is used for a visual effect that I’m going to hope was referencing something. It looked nice, but… what’s the point?
Director Shirley Yung has a cameo in one scene, apparently playing herself. In a later scene, two people talk about last year’s Guilty, (which Shirley Yung produced) as being a major success. The two people are I Love You Boyz. Which makes sense, because every time they appear in a movie, it comes to a screeching halt.
So at least one thing in this movie was done right.
That said, a cameo… as yourself… and referencing your own movies… I wonder where she got that idea from.
But let’s move on. And hopefully up.
Because like I said, this movie wasn’t really all bad, or even as bad as it should be. Jacky Choi was good as the established actress Chu Ki comes into conflict with. She was funny, believable, and easy to watch. So were Lo Hoi Pang and Bonnie Wong.
I mean, could those two ever not be?
The story is pedestrian, predictable, generic, and unsurprising. But so are a lot of movies. And I have to say, Annie Liu and Pakho Chau were a lot better both separately and together in this movie than S for Syphillis.
Wait… never mind.
They were believable not only as their characters but as a married couple. My Wife is a Superstar misses more chances than it takes to send up the local entertainment industry and fame circus, but it’s not the worst movie Shirley Yung has made.
My Wife is a Superstar was nowhere near as bad as I expected, but at least it wasn’t infuriating, which is what I expected. So I guess you could say it’s profoundly better than I expected. But it’s not a good movie. It’s… resoundingly okay.
When one of the highlights of your movie is a Shiga Lin cameo, well… But like I said, the audience I saw it with enjoyed themselves thoroughly, so what do I know?