Double Happiness

"Grim"

Double Happiness Review


Mina Shum, in her writer/director's notes on Double Happiness, makes her life story sound like a modern-day Book of Job: She's an unappreciated Chinese-Canadian twentysomething. She left home at 18 and didn't have any furniture. She worked at McDonald's. And she made a movie about all this.

Well, cry me a river. Double Happiness is probably the most blatantly self-centered film I've seen all year. After all, when people say, "Write what you know," they don't mean, "Write about YOU YOU YOU!" The idea is to take a personal story and make it accessible to the masses. This movie is just one big, running, inside joke.

The story: Jade, a Chinese-Canadian twentysomething (Sandra Oh), is unappreciated at home. Her father (Stephen Chang) is domineering and wants her to be "a good Chinese girl." Mother (Alannah Ong) is no help at all. In a fit of hormonal lunacy, Jade picks up Mark (Callum Rennie) -- get this -- a white guy she sees vomiting outside a trendy nightclub. Mom and Dad do not approve; they keep trying to set Jade up with lawyers and doctors. Now, see if you can guess the big ending.

The sad thing is, it could have been a good movie. Unfortunately, bad acting on a general level really hampers the film, especially during the melodrama of the family struggle, where everything seems almost farcical. Also, the movie's supposed to be a comedy/drama (I think), but a number of opportunities to infuse some much-needed humor are missed. Like they say a number of times during the film, Jade looks just like Connie Chung--and Connie Chung does not do comedy.

Thankfully, Shum's direction is assured, stylish, and innovative, and the best moments in this film are completely visual. (And, with music by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, the band from The Kids in the Hall, the audio isn't bad, either.) Unfortunately, this is just icing on a poorly cooked cake.

The sad bottom line is that Double Happiness is simply unnecessary and isn't even uplifting, as it was intended. Save your money and get the moral to the story here: Life sucks, and you better just get used to it. (As a side note, I take some consolation that Shum has since faded into nearly complete obscurity. Justice lives!)



Double Happiness

Facts and Figures

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Friday 28th July 1995

Box Office Worldwide: $759.4 thousand

Production compaines: Téléfilm Canada, British Columbia Film Commission, Fine Line Features, First Generation Films, National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Fresh: 7 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jade Li, as Dad Li, as Mom Li, Donald Fong as Ah Hong, as Pearl Li

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.