Good Times, Bed Times (2003)

Directed by: Patrick Leung & Chan Hing-Kar
Written by: Chan Hing-Kar
Producers: Chan Hing-Kar & Amy Chin
Starring: Sammi Cheng, Louis Koo, Lau Ching-Wan, Charlene Choi, Sandra Ng, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Jim Chim, Lee Lik-Chi, Philip Chan & Lam Suet

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Some type of trilogy coming to a close now, for co-directors Patrick Leung and Chan Hing-Kar? Nah, it just happens to be yet another comedy teaming up them and leading men Louis Koo and Lau Ching Wan. La Brassiere and Mighty Baby, especially the former contained some worthwhile joy and Good Times, Bed Times certainly aim very little for the peeps involved to break a sweat. As dumb as it is and favouring ill logic instead of logic, it's nice not to break a sweat as a viewer sometimes too. The fact that we also get an unusually racy comedy populated by stars doesn't hurt either.

Oh it is a view on relationships and growing up, with its lowest times in the eyes of Sammi Cheng's Carrie shown early. Walking in on her ultra-horny boyfriend (and judge) Raymond (Lau Ching-Wan) getting it on with another woman, she does not flee immediately but sits down to eat noodles as she knows his time limit when it comes to sex. In the end, it's all about claiming her bed and dragging it down the streets of Hong Kong, searching for the right man. In a bit of an episodic structure in the way it focuses on half of the leading cast in turns almost, we come to understand that the English title is very symbolic for the flick, which is something to connect to. Chan Hing-Kar's script also echoes a similar plot from Sunshine Cops where you had media-bred cops, a fantasy for the recipients of media coverage but that fantasy of course is human. Humans also get impotent. Paul (Louis Koo) is one such.

It's here you should criticize Patrick Leung and Chan Hing-Kar because they deal with Paul Ko's impotence in a flashback that is actually a Matrix-parody and while it's true to how Hong Kong cinema thinks (or rather commercial Hong Kong cinema), you can't argue that it's right according to reality and that it's right to hinge drama on the often parodied Bullet Time-scene from said Hollywood flick. Yet this at times fantasy oriented farce is light and harmless enough for us to accept the fact that felt emotions are consciously so far removed from the film that it's ok to use whatever tools and mood you like. Cue Jim Chim as the wacky penis doctor who goes inside Paul Ko's pants and finds a little chicken. Hey ho.

So on we roll through Paul's tribulations as he tries insect therapy with added food poisoning at the end, being excluded from actually working as a cop but ultimately engaging in a fairly sweet puppy love romance with tabloid journalist Carrie. Enter the paparazzi theme and morals that come with it as she engages in a relationship with someone she was supposed to exploit (and she has exploited happily before) but true love you can't turn away from. True love also equals sex so there the record comes to a screeching halt and how long can Carrie accept love without some looovvveeee? It's fluffy, it's bubbly, it's soon Lau Ching Wan and Charlene Choi as Tabby, at center stage. As Raymond displays an skewed jealousy towards Carrie, he encounters essentially Tabby the kid that will make his flirtatious self take a vacation. And preferably forever maybe, however hard it is to admit that he is attracted to this lively, little personality. Free-spirited and very well connected with what desires are all about, Choi diverts us nicely from a potentially annoying character as there are enough subtleties there, within the commercial exercise that this is, to make us a little impressed.

Really the whole main cast does likeable antics, as desired by directors Patrick Leung and Chan Hing-Kar. And true to the surreal and fantasy-like stance to their drama, the whole quick, wacky solution that's supposed to be a character-drama and dilemma is dealt with in light ways and we're weak for it. It's easy to dislike Good Times, Bed Times but much preferable to fall for it as it represents an effort in an output that for once accomplishes the bright feelings it sets out to communicate.

The DVD:

Mei Ah presents the film in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, with anamorphic enhancement. Nothing to complain of here as print is clean, colourful and sharp.

The Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0 track doesn't set out to veer away too much from the center stage but does present all aspects in a clear manner. Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 and Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks are also included.

The English subtitles are totally error-free and coherent. Traditional and simplified Chinese subtitles are also available. Standard extras appear in the form of an unsubbed Making Of (7 minutes, 55 seconds), trailers for Good Times, Bed Times, Men Suddenly In Black and Mei Ah's useless Data Bank.

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson