Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid: You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to save the world
There is a handful of directors whose movies are instantly recognizable because their body of work is so uniquely stylized and personal. The Coen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and Wong Kar-Wai come to mind.
No one could have expected Stephen Chow to make that jump from awesome filmmaker to being one of those visionary artists. But he did. He started to create complete universes to match his mo lei tau (mindless) brand of comedy: Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle, CJ7, Journey To the West: Conquering Demons… What a roll, and I wouldn’t argue if you tacked God of Cookery or Love on Delivery onto the beginning.
So how lucky are we to be able to see Chow’s latest release on multiple screens in the SGV? And how cool is it he is has not only made another perfect slice of cinema that is both artful and entertaining but that he is unafraid to get behind a cause?
The Mermaid involves a beautifully awkward mermaid who is sent to the surface world to seduce and kill a businessman playboy who has been killing marine life for real estate purposes. Of course, the enemies fall in love but less likely is the perfect casting and acting by Jelly Lin and Deng Chao, who are stock figures of the most refreshing and likable kind. And as is the case in any Chow movie, the supporting cast is crazier and better–including Kitty Zhang from CJ7 getting to play a villain and Hong Kong cinema god/director Tsui Hark making a cameo.
There are too many incredibly funny parts to list: a surreal police sketch routine that is somehow even funnier onscreen than in the teaser, unbelievably epic musical numbers, and a teppanyaki scene that will probably make you curl up into a ball. There are also equally majestic and horrific scenes of mermaid life and slaughter.
The Mermaid succeeds as an extremely funny comedy, perfectly cute romance, and weird fantasy, but it is also a strong piece of ecology-minded propaganda. In short, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll forget your troubles, and you’ll want to save the world.
Go see it now!
AMC Atlantic Times Square 14
450 N. Atlantic Blvd.