1977. King Of Comedy (喜劇之王) (1999)

6.6 Manic, albeit not hilarious
  • Acting 6.8
  • Directing 6.6
  • Story 6.3
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

Starring: Stephen Chow, Karen Mok, Cecilia Chung

Director: Stephen Chow, Lee Lik-chi

Running Time: 90 mins

King Of Comedy is a Hong Kong film about a struggling actor who is hired on a bizarre job by a bar girl, and over the course of a hectic period of time, the two grow closer and closer.

This is a strange old film. It’s chock full of some really bizarre and crazy moments and mishaps from start to finish, and features a good sense of humour and fun throughout, I can’t say that it’s the most hilarious comedy I’ve ever watched, while it really struggles to prove interesting with its less-than-stellar story.

Let’s start off on the bright side, with the film’s atmosphere. While the writing may not always be on point, the film does a generally good job at creating a fun-loving and silly enough atmosphere to make itself an easy and entertaining watch. Stephen Chow’s charismatic and very lively central performance fits the bill perfectly, and in the film’s silliest moments, it feels like it’s fully in the right territory.

With that said, there are elements of that fun-loving atmosphere that cause a couple of problems. While it was undoubtedly the right choice for this film, and made it as enjoyable as possible, there’s a part of that silly atmosphere that renders the central story a lot less engaging, simply because feeling captivated by characters and drama feels a little out of place in what appears to be a much lighter comedy.

That’s not to say the film should be criticised for trying to bring some depth to affairs, however it doesn’t manage to mix that drama with the lighter comedy particularly well, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the movie as you try to get a better idea of what it is you should be focusing on: sitting back and laughing, or concentrating a little more on the slightly more serious side.

Of course, the story itself isn’t that serious at all. There’s drama to it, and the characters have a little bit of depth, but in general the plot doesn’t do enough to prove engaging, particularly not enough to justify and make up for some underwhelming comedy throughout, making for a duller watch than really should have been the case.

In the end, the biggest disappointment of the film comes from the comedy. While the movie is light-hearted, simple and often enjoyable, it’s not a hilarious comedy. It may have a fairly good, self-aware sense of humour, but the fact remains that a lot of the jokes aren’t quite funny enough. On the one hand, some are just too simple and predictable, with a lot of the film’s slapstick missing the mark, while many of the more awkward and/or ironic jokes also falling flat simply because they don’t feel original or surprising enough, never allowing me to really burst out laughing.

Overall, King Of Comedy isn’t a particularly bad film, but nor is it one that really succeeds in providing a properly entertaining or engaging watch. It’s light and silly, but its story doesn’t prove interesting enough, and its comedy isn’t quite funny enough to make you laugh, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.6.


About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com