My Lucky Star Dennie Gordon

My Lucky Star Dennie Gordon
3
The story behind how the director of Joe Dirt was brought on to shepherd a Chinese screwball spy comedy starring Zhang Ziyi (The Grandmaster, Rush Hour 2) is likely far more interesting than the resulting film. Not that it would be that difficult — My Lucky Star is appallingly stupid. From the opening notes of a James Bond-biting theme given a swinging acid jazz makeover, the intended tone is obvious: this exceedingly broad, embarrassingly pandering dose of antiquated female wish-fulfillment is a loose spoof. In the opening scene, the Western hero archetypes are blown up and rendered utterly ridiculous. A handsome spy saves a beautiful woman from a villainess dressed like Catwoman. Promptly, the damsel in distress breaks the fourth wall with a dramatic romantic declaration. Then, Sofie (Zhang) snaps out of her daydream; she's an aspiring manga artist creating her prince charming on paper. To maintain the level of zaniness the film feeds on like a jonesing junky, in these brief moments of reality before she's swept up in a grand adventure right out of her wildest fantasies, Sofie interacts with an animated photo of her parents (harping about her lack of a husband, of course) and is ostracized at work for her smelly garlic noodles and low sales. Her humdrum, fantasy-filled life as a bored travel agent is given a jolt when she wins a luxury, five-day trip to Singapore. Excitedly, she calls her favourite pack of gossipy friends to share the news. Playfully but unconvincingly having our protagonist interact with talking head split screens, My Lucky Star's attempts at technical humour are as out-dated as jokes like Sofie's assertion that "'Happy guys' can be made straight." Watching a country play culture catch-up is mildly amusing, but a trace amount of unintentional humour in a garish farce factory only goes so far. This insultingly vapid depiction of female malleability by way of the swooning desire for a strong, handsome, rich white knight clips along at a frantic pace as the clumsy Sofie bumbles her way through dangerous situations that lead her into the arms of, and a partnership with, the man of her dreams: international super-spy David Yan (Leehom Wang, Lust, Caution). There's a great deal of techno babble and even more laughably expository dialog involved in setting up a tenuous, world-saving plot concerning the planet's largest diamond and a giant frickin' laser. Loaded with random musical numbers and other assorted visual non-sequiturs, My Lucky Star is a lively emulation of American sensibilities coloured by that special brand of Chinese nationalism: "I'll go anywhere they speak Chinese," declares one of Softie's catty girlfriends while discussing travel. While it's refreshing to see a female-driven adventure comedy aimed at a mass audience, Dennie Gordon didn't intend for this project to be a subversion of the male fantasy indulgence permeating so much of mainstream cinema. Without evidence to the contrary, this film is simply what it is: an insultingly backwards and idiotic piece of slapstick filmmaking throbbing with a chaste horny streak. (China Lion)