Director: Patrick Leung Pak-Kin, Chan Hing-Kai
Writer: Chan Hing-Kai
Cast: Sammi Cheng Sau-Man, Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Lau Ching-Wan, Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin, Lam Suet, Tats Lau Yi-Tat, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu, Lee Lik-Chee, Philip Chan Yan-Kin, Pinky Cheung Man-Chi, Jim Chim Sui-Man, Niki Chow Lai-Kei, Tsui Tin-Yau, Wong Yau-Nam, Serena Po Sai-Yi, Angela Au Man-Si, Kary Ng Yiu-Fei, Elaine Ho Yi-Ling, Gloria Chan So-Ying
The Skinny: Amusing and fun, but also messy and full of questionably coherent details. For popstar-fueled fun, Good Times, Bed Times is probably Summer 2003's best bet. It's not much more than fluff, but the performers are funny and surprisingly sexy, and the film's randy giddiness is refreshing.
Review by Kozo:
Current Hong Kong popstars aren't really known for being sexy. Whereas the singer-actors of years past (Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung, to name two) have not shied away from sexy or even daring performances, the current crop are entirely too clean-cut and chaste. The sexiest you'll ever see of most HK popstars are the occasional leg-baring (or chest-baring for males) album covers, and in movies you're lucky if they ever even kiss. While likely a stipulation of many management contracts, it doesn't make movie-watching a very titillating experience. Good Times, Bed Times thankfully arrives as a semi-antidote to that problem. While not a completely successful film, at the very least it allows its performers to act as if they would actually like to have sex.
Sammi Cheng stars as Carrie, a reporter for a Hong Kong tabloid, who has some strange fetish with her bed that makes it necessary for her to get a good night's sleep. She's so hooked on her bed that she has to drag it elsewhere on the very evening she breaks up with her ladykiller boyfriend Raymond (Lau Ching-Wan), who she catches with one of his many other women. Luckily, Carrie gets a chance to bounce back romantically when she's assigned to a story on Hong Kong supercop Paul Ko (Louis Koo). Ko is the handsome, dashing poster child for Hong Kong's police force, but he also harbors a secret: impotency. Apparently, he lost the drive for action when he was nearly shot in the crotch during a routine bust (which is rendered in flashback complete with unnecessary John Woo/Matrix influences). Carrie's boss got wind of Paul's condition through keen investigative reporting (he overhears this while getting his hair done), and gives Carrie the plum assignment.
Which turns out to be a relatively easy task, since Paul is immediately smitten with Carrie, and vice-versa. Thanks to a well-placed can of bug spray, she also believes Paul isn't impotent, which suits him just fine. He believes that if he finds someone he loves (i.e. Carrie), he'll be cured of his inability to perform. Until then, however, his stage fright is fodder for many jokes, some good and some not-so-good. Paul's quest for a herbal remedy produces a few gags, and Chim Sui-Man (who played the screwy Dr. Kim in Mighty Baby) shows up as a quack sexual therapist who attends to Paul's member in one of the more outlandish metaphorical sequences. If seeing Chim Sui-Man play with a bird standing-in for Louis Koo's instrument sounds like a total gas, then this is your movie.
Still, the supposed laffers in here aren't as hilarious as writer Chan Hing-Kai (who also co-directed with his La Brassiere and Mighty Baby cohort, Patrick Leung) would have us believe. Like in Mighty Baby, the sight gags and occasional existential detours here seem disjointed and somewhat ill-fitting. Better laughs are received from the fine supporting turns (particularly Sandra Ng and Tony Leung Ka-Fai as an adulterous couple), and the lampooning of Louis Koo's masculinity (he gets sexually harrassed by most females, and is socially pretty meek). Koo turns in one of his patented self-effacing turns, and Sammi Cheng—while not doing anything ostensibly new—is her usual beautiful, sometimes-whiny, but mostly-charming self. The chemistry and sexual tension between the two actualy seems to work, and the courtship of the two leading stars creates a few moments of enjoyable fluffy romance.
But the question does come up: where is all this going? While Carrie and Paul struggle with the spectre of Paul's impotency, ex-beau Raymond encounters his own sexual crisis. An avowed player, he's advised by colleague Lam Suet to stop fooling around, lest he hurt his chances at promotion (Raymond is currently a lower-level judge in HK's court system). He complies, but as soon as that happens, he meets Tabby (Charlene Choi), who is essentially every aging male's dream nymphet temptress. Tabby may only be eighteen, but she's outgoing and an over-the-top tease. Within minutes of meeting Raymond (He tries her sexual harrassment case, where she demonstrates said harrassment on an inflatable doll.), she's already hopping into his car and taking him around town. The two end up at a commercial audition (Why? Who the hell knows?), and before long, Tabby is doing her best to seduce Raymond with her disturbingly juvenile wiles. She gets naked a total of two times in front of him (Charlene Choi stalkers deal with it; she shows nothing.), and makes light of their obvious age difference. Raymond stands firm, but Tabby slowly gains ground. And again, where the heck is this all going?
Well, it's headed here: both Raymond and Carrie must come to terms with what they want, sex or love, and whether the two can co-exist. In Carrie's case, she falls in love with Paul's over-eager good guy ways, and must deal with the fact that he won't be getting any tent-pole action anytime soon. And Raymond has to deal with whether or not he should have sex with Tabby—or is his dilemma whether or not to commit to Tabby? While such a notion is totally underdeveloped and seems solely to exist because the script demands, the crux of their whole thing is the standard romantic comedy question: will they get together? The answer to that is not much of a surprise (this isn't a tragedy), but the hows and whys are a little dicey. Not only is the development of such events somewhat in question (Charlene Choi attempting to seduce him? Where exactly is his problem?), but the minor details of the film are more filler than anything else. In addition to the two romantic subplots, we get office chicanery, tabloid foolishness, and the return of the criminal who essentially emasculated Paul. If they threw in the kitchen sink, it would only make this the most complete film ever.
Factoring in all the extra details and supposed personal crises, Good Times, Bed Times ultimately seems messy and entirely without consequence. Chan Hing-Kai brings more of his questionable existentialism to the big screen, and the results are as unconvincing as anything he's done previously. The solution to Raymond's problems seems too easy, the detail of Carrie's bed fetish isn't entirely explained, and Paul's solution to his manhood issues is just a tacked-on contrivance. Plus, the occasional voiceover seems to indicate that fulfilling a man's sexual ability is the key to marital bliss and untold eternal happiness. Well, perhaps that's stretching it a bit, but when the film seems to climax three or four times (no pun intended), you have to wonder what the point of all this is. As coherent storytelling goes, Good Times, Bed Times pretty much can't get it up.
But, the film does compensate in a satisfying enough manner. The actors are funny and exceptionally easy on the eyes, and the frank depiction of their sexual appetites makes for some fun against-type moments. Paul Ko spends his time pining for Carrie in an amusingly chaste way, while Carrie gets increasingly horny without any true satisfaction on the horizon. Koo's ability to laugh at himself is a welcome one, and though Sammi Cheng doesn't really do anything new here, it's refreshing to see her play a female who actually possesses human lust. At one moment, Carrie and Raymond chance into one another while snacking on turtle jelly, which is supposed 'to reduce heat' in their oversexed, unsatisfied bodies. Before long they're slurping away at their jelly and pawing themselves like extras in Tom Jones, which is both surprising and wickedly funny—especially for those familiar with the chaste ways HK popstars are represented. The same goes for Charlene Choi, though her seemingly innocent yet disturbingly overt sexuality seems a tad out of place. But it's all good, in a guilty sort of way. While not a totally coherent work, Good Times, Bed Times gets credit for giving its stars the chance to act like normal human beings who actually desire sex. And as a result, they manage to actually appear sexy, which—given the popstar-ruled state of HK movies at the moment—is a welcome rarity. (Kozo 2003)