Hong Kong 2006
Directed by Herman Yau.

Candy (Candy Lo) owns the bar "Half-Mortal" (or Heaven/Hell, depending on whether you believe the subtitles or read the sign out front). Her employees, Stella (Race Wong) and Paul (Endy Chow), serve drinks at the bar to a seemingly endless parade of uninteresting characters, while falling love and overcoming childhood trauma. Herman Yau has given us all kinds of films, including small ones about regular people, like COCKTAIL, but this time the story is so inconsequential I can hardly remember watching it. In fact, it's STILL ON. I just forgot. See what I mean?

Paul got his job at the bar to somehow try to come to a better understanding with his father (Lawrence Cheng), who was a druken abusive pathetic man. Paul tries to relate to this by mixing special cocktails for people based on their personalities. What the hell? If he wanted to relate to his dad, he should slap on a stained T-shirt and slug down some cheap beer.

Stella, meanwhile, is going to college, and paying her way by working at the bar. She falls for Paul, for no discernable reason other than Endy Chow resembles a young Andy Lau.

Candy Lo does little but sulk about her bar, remembering her boyfriend (played by Eric Kot, in a teeny, tiny cameo that is loads more charismatic than Endy could ever be). Alas, her and her boyfriend are brother and sister. Wait -- that's pretty gross. She clarifies later, "same father, different mothers." But still.

I am always pleased to see Herman Yau make a new movie, and I'll see it, no matter what, when his name is attached. COCKTAIL is decently filmed and benefits from a bluesy soundtrack. But it's a shallow movie, populated with flimsy characters and goes overboard trying to play your heartstrings with all the usual devices (note to Hong Kong filmmakers: I am begging, BEGGING you, to stop with the piggy-back rides. Please).

Race Wong, of Singapore girl band 2R, is cute but forgettable. Endy Chow -- what can I say? "Endy! Through me the idol, I throw you the whip! Endy!"

Rating: Not Recommended (Not Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on May 13, 2006.

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