The Luckiest Man (2008)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2009-09-13
Summary: Don't bother
“The Luckiest Man” rolls merrily along as an adolescent gross-out comedy with jokes scraped from the bottom of several barrels starring the even less funny than usual Nate Chan as Ho Bee-Fat, the aging “king of gamblers”. Timmy Hung vomits on Nat Chan’s dinner; Nat Chan is fed soup containing sawdust, glue, nails, ink and laxative then becomes so constipated that his doctor uses a tire jack to unplug him. Bosco Wong sleeps with his sister, awakens to find both of them naked but doesn’t know if he had sex with her. His clothing is covered with itching powder; glue is substituted for his shower gel; his room in the huge house is an unconverted garage.

The family, made up of three wives, two of whom have offspring, are only interested in Ho Bee-Fat’s money. Constant gifts to the wives only make them insist on more—one of the few funny scenes shows the wives meeting in the hallway outside of their bedrooms, seeing each other, then turning and going back into their rooms. Each returns wearing larger and gaudier jewelry, trying to show that Ho has been more generous with her.

Three of Ho Bee-Fat’s former gambling buddies had specific talents: one could tell what numbers were coming up from listening to the dice, another whose hands were so fast that no one could catch him cheating at cards and the third could remember every card or tile that played. They now suffered from deafness, uncontrollable hand tremors and memory loss. They are also plagued by summer-stock quality hair and make-up—they are supposed to be recognizable as (more or less) the stars they are but, like most of “The Luckiest Man”, this attempt at fourth wall breaking doesn’t work, nor do the occasions when an actor steps out of character and addresses the audience directly.

His friends aren’t in Bee-Fat’s league anymore—he is King of the Gamblers, they are old men sitting the park reminiscing and telling lies about the old days. But they have loving families while Ho Bee-Fat doesn’t. He invites them for dinner but each has plans, the kind of plans that escape Bee-Fat. Each of the old friends is picked up by family members who, while clearly not wealth, enjoy their company and treat them with the respect that elders should have.

This sets the scene for a change of direction with an almost audible grinding of gears at the end of the movie when the very broad and very unfunny comedy becomes a tearjerker with a happy and completely expected ending.

There is one extended set piece that doesn’t redeem this movie nor even make it worth watching but at least shows that every bit to time, talent and money that went into it wasn’t completely wasted. It occurs when a gang of three professional mahjong cheats show up at Fei’s mahjong parlor and start winning steadily. While they are obviously cheating he isn’t able to catch them doing so, until a wise old hand tells him they are famous for passing tile under the table with their feet. Fei’s ingenious way of thwarting them, while silly and contrived, is funny and well worth seeing.

Other than that “The Luckiest Man” is a slapped together set of uneven and barely connected scenes that limps to the ninety minute mark.
Reviewer Score: 3