My Darling Genie
Hong Kong 1984
Directed by Yang Chuan.


Cherie Cheung is a genie who lives inside a paper umbrella. She is found by a construction worker (Derek Yee) who uses her to do his work for him, bail his Uncle Fan (Stanley Fung) out of debt and keep his girlfriend out of the clutches of his evil boss, Mr. Lin (James Yi). A light comedy with some funny bits early on, but in the second half the film slows to a crawl as everyone tries to use her magic to get rich at gambling. None of the characters ever find some kind of depth within themselves, a desire to good, a wish perhaps to free her from her servitude. Nope, just get me rich playing Mahjong, thank you very much. Cherie has a lot of fun with the role. James Yi is the comedic highlight of the film. In a moment that has to be seen to be believed, he accidentally swallows his dentures, "passes" them out the other end, and puts them back in his mouth, all in the same throwaway scene. The rest of the cast doesn't measure up, though Stanley Fung is amiable enough, Derek Yee might as well have stayed home. His performance is so lacklustre I'm surprised he even showed up on the film when it was developed. The ghost in the umbrella story is uncommon, but not completely unique -- for another example, see Finale in Blood.

Rating: Marginally Recommended (Marginally Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on October 18, 2005.


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