Starring: Yu Entai, Stephy Qi, Bingkun Cao
Director: Li Wan
Running Time: 85 mins
Be A Ri$h Man is a Chinese film about a poor man who is hired as a temporary substitute to a wealthy tycoon thanks to his identical appearance to the man in question.
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this film. Despite a fairly unoriginal premise and a title that sends my OCD into overdrive, Be A Rish Man is a good bit of fun, with two very entertaining central performances from Yu Entai and Stephy Qi, and a generally light-hearted atmosphere that doesn’t ever take itself too seriously, making its story just right when it comes to enjoying an hour and a half of comedy.
But first off, if you’ve seen the film Dave, starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver, because it’s almost exactly the same story as this film. Okay, a couple of plot points are slightly different, the setting is different, now in a wealthy Chinese business rather than the White House, and the atmosphere of manic modern Chinese comedy in comparison to a slightly calmer 90s American comedy, but it’s very, very similar to that movie.
The good thing, however, is that Dave is a pretty good film, and Be A Rish Man does a decent job at emulating it. Just like its American counterpart, Be A Rish Man takes on a seemingly ridiculous premise and makes it work pretty well. It’s light-hearted and fun-loving throughout, and doesn’t ever really expect you to believe that a major business tycoon could just be replaced by some random guy off the street who looks like him.
What’s more is that it does well at developing its two main characters, the substitute and the savvy businesswoman who coaches him and gets him into shape to take temporary control of a major company. They’re both very likable, and both Yu Entai and Stephy Qi put in excellent performances for their respective characters, also working very well together with some fantastic chemistry. It’s not necessarily enough to justify any romance that may or may not spring up between them, but it’s a fun enough relationship that works very well as the centre of the comedy of the whole movie.
When it comes to things that don’t work about Be A Rish Man, there are two main issues. Firstly, it’s not always as hilarious as it can be. While it’s an entertaining film, and you’ll have fun with its silly story and manic atmosphere, it’s not a riotous watch full of big laughs, meaning that anyone looking for an exceptional comedy may be a little disappointed.
Secondly, the film’s third act isn’t the most convincing. While Dave managed to brilliantly introduce some genuine drama into proceedings with a heartfelt and engaging final act, Be A Rish Man falls down when it moves away from its sillier vibes, and never manages to do the same in convincing you of the characters’ genuine development, meaning that the moments when it tries to be a little less silly really do fall flat.
But on the whole, I had a lot of fun with this film. It’s not perfect, and not one hundred percent hilarious, but it’s a generally very entertaining and fun-loving comedy with a silly enough concept and two excellent central performances. Yes, it’s very similar to Dave, but it’s not half-bad when it comes to rehashes, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5 overall.