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大丈夫2 (2006)
Men Suddenly in Black 2

Reviewed by: Brian Thibodeau
Date: 08/23/2007
Summary: Built from the original's table scraps...

The caustic satire of the first MEN SUDDENLY IN BLACK is given over to tiresome bitching, contrived not-quite-adultery, and further “comic” surveillance in this sequel, as four couples—two returning from the original (Eric Tsang and Teresa Mo, Jordan Chan and Marsha Yuen) and two pairs of newbies (Cheung Tat-ming and Josie Ho, Wong Yau-nam and Gia Lin)—gather together at a dinner party to dish about their empty sex lives as justification for extramarital canoodling.

If these characters were anything deeper than an assortment of stand-up comedy zingers about the “institute” of marriage, we might be inclined to care when the women decide to screw around as a means of saving their marriages, never to discover that their masked gigolos—picked up at a male strip club in Macau—have secretly been replaced by their husbands, who sorta, kinda learn that women are so well-meaning they don’t really want to fool around. Teresa Mo not noticing that lithe body of bar pick-up Samuel Pang has been replaced by chubby Eric Tsang (who dons the younger man’s mask) is the very definition of stretching credibility for a laugh.

And so, as in the first film, no actual adultery takes place, which gives the filmmakers an easy out as far as storytelling is concerned—a few scenes of forced emotional drama needn’t do much heavy lifting because the events that bring them about don’t carry the slightest whiff of reality (which certainly undermines Teresa Mo’s award-bait hysterics in the final reel)—and another easy out with the audience, who won’t dislike the characters because they’re never seen consummating their illicit desires; they just think they are.

“Women play makes the husbands stay,” says the ladies’ spiritual leader Sandra Ng, wife of cuckolded lothario Tony Leung Ka-fai in the original (he appears here in voice only), invoking the kind of simplistic Movie McWisdom® that could only be dreamed up by screenwriters (in this case Aubrey Lam Oi-wa, Heiward Mak Hei-yan and co-star Teresa Mo, who also served as executive producer) insulated from the couplings of common people, possibly involved in the kinds of untrusting relationships they portray here, and not imaginitive enough to shoot for the outsized laughs of the original movie. Far too much of the sequel’s humour comes from riffing on Johnnie To’s ELECTION films, which instantly dates this, unlike director Edmond Pang’s generalized winks at the genre in the first film.

Director Zhong Qing is actually a pseudonym: Chung Shu-kei is credited as “executive director”, and can be seen directing at least some of the picture in production footage included on the DVD, while early reports in the media claimed Aubrey Lam would helm the show.

Reviewer Score: 4