The Diary of a Big Man
Having first gotten to know Chow Yun Fat through
his Heroic Bloodshed roles The Killer, Hard Boiled, A Better Tomorrow
it is always a bit of a culture shock to watch him perform in some of
his comedic roles. In these roles Chow is as far away from those heroically
stoic characters as one can possibly imagine. In these screwball comedies
Chow is just totally over the top in a very silly and very frenetic and
very funny way.
And mind you, his characters and the comedies
are not stylishly sophisticated in a Cary Grant sort of way. Chow
mugs, minces, sings or does just about anything to make the audience laugh.
Whats also interesting is that Chow was doing these comedies at the same
time that he was creating his now more renowned action classics. He made
a real effort to alternate between action, comedy and romance roles and
he was popular with the audiences in all of these genres.
This film is an exercise in complete lunacy
a 90-minute bedroom farce that somehow never runs out of steam and just
gets sillier as the film progresses. Chow is very funny as a man who thinks
he can control a situation that is totally uncontrollable and all of his
actions only make things worse.
One rainy night he meets two women Joey Wong
and Sally Yeh in separate incidents, gets their phone numbers, dates
them and then . . . well marries them both! Not that he really
wanted to, but he is too nice a guy to hurt either of them. This may seem
like a complicated situation but Chow thinks he has it all figured out
(and being married to both Joey Wong and Sally Yeh might be worth a little
extra effort!). Sally is an airline hostess and is out of town for part
of each week so he spends those days with Joey and when Sally is in
town he tells Joey that the stock market is crashing and that he cant
come home! Never shall the twain meet. Uh huh!
Of course in this kind of comedy, gravitational
forces start constantly bringing the women together and this is when the
insanity begins. Scenes of Chow first doing everything he can to keep the
women from meeting (in the elevator and even in bed!) and then when this
doesnt work trying to keep them from realizing that he is married to both
of them are very funny, clever and wonderfully choreographed. Many of his
lies involve his good friend Waise Lee and his fiancée Carrie Ng
and he turns their lives as upside down as his own.
There are many moments of nuttiness the oddest
when in the middle of a scene a music video suddenly pops up with Chow,
Sally and Joey all singing and dancing through the streets of HK, as Mariachi
musicians and in formal wear. It made absolutely no sense in context to
the film but it was so charming that who could care.
Everyone in this is terrific Chow is perfectly
madcap and yet still irresistible and Sally and Joey play the perfect straight
women to him. A year later of course Chow and Sally were to make film history
as the lovers in The Killer and Joey had her first big hit the year before
A Chinese Ghost Story but this film (produced by Tsui Hark) must have
been a very fun stop along the way for all involved.
My rating for this film: 7.5