100 Ways to Murder Your Wife
AKA: One Hundred Ways to Murder Your Wife, Killing Wives Softly
Year of release: 1986
Director: Kenny Bee
Producer: Wong Jing
Writer: Alex Law
Cinematography: Jimmy Leung
Music: Kenny Bee, Chui Yat-Kan, So Jan-Hau
Editors: Ma Ching-Yiu, Chiu Cheuk-Man, Siu Fung
Stars: Chow Yun-Fat, Kenny Bee, Joey Wong, Anita Mui, Wong Jing, Eric Yeung, Wu Ma, Shing Fui-On
Rated I for mild violence
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Kenny Bee's lone directorial effort also has him starring as Roberto, a footballer who is tired of being nagged by his wife, Anita (Anita Mui). While out drinking one night, he meets up with fellow player Fat (Chow Yun-Fat), who suspects his better half, Wang (Joey Wong), of cheating. After consuming many beverages, the pair decide to kill each other's spouse. Waking up the next day in a hungover haze, it looks like Fat has completed his part of the deal, which leaves Roberto in a bind, as he begins to have second thoughts.
As 100 Ways to Murder Your Wife is produced by Wong Jing, one might expect this film to have his trademark over-the-top toilet humor. However, Alex Law's script is actually fairly family-friendly -- at least as far as a movie about killing people could be -- and that is perhaps this picture's biggest downfall. This is the sort of movie that feels like it should have some sort of mean-spiritedness or crudity to the proceedings, and as there is none of that, the end results come of as a bit staid and boring.
It doesn't help matters that there are really no likeable, or even engaging on a base level, characters present here. The male leads are buffoonish caricatures that are more suited for the task of bumbling their way through forced and canned laughter via a modern American sitcom than performing in a witty and enjoyable film. The women don't fare much better, with Anita Mui coming off as a stereotypical shrill class-obsessed Hong Kong woman, while Joey Wong is such a ditz that one tends to wonder if she could even put on her pants without needing professional help.
Hong Kong comedies, outside of Stephen Chow movies and the like, usually don't translate very well to western audiences. But 100 Ways to Murder Your Wife doesn't really depend on Cantonese slang, pop culture references, or parodies, and so it's not really a matter of an English-speaking audience "getting it" or not. The failure of this picture is more from the laziness of the delivery of the material, rather than the intent behind creating it.