72 Tenants of Prosperity
Year of release: 2010
Directors: Eric Tsang, Patrick Kong, Ching Shu-Kai
Action director: Mars
Producer: Eric Tsang
Writers: Patrick Kong, Wong Yeung-Tat
Cinematography: Tony Cheung
Editing: Wenders Li
Music: Tang Chi-Wai, Johnny Lim, Ben Chong
Stars: Jacky Cheung, Eric Tsang, Anita Yuen, Bosco Wong, Linda Chung, Wong Cho-Nam, Stephy Tang, Michael Tse, Liang Tian, Kate Tsui, Nat Chan, Bernice Liu, Wayne Lai, Sam Lee, Chin Siu-Ho, Lam Suet
Rated IIB for language
Movie Review Index
A loose sequel to the Cantonese comedy classic The House of 72 Tenants, 72 Tenants of Prosperity, the 2010 Lunar New Year entry from Eric Tsang and the TVB studio, doesn't stray too far from the usual holiday movie formula, emphasizing a light, locally-based story, and a star-packed cast, rather than attempting to creating any sort of deep cinematic imprint.
How much enjoyment you're going to get from 72 Tenants of Prosperity is probably roughly equal to how much you're ensconsed in Hong Kong history and pop culture, either from living there, or having too much time on one's hands and watching what some would consider too many Hong Kong movies over the years. Taken on its' base, a lot of the jokes featured here will fall flat on many more casual western viewers of Hong Kong cinema, but for those that are more well-versed, there are quite a few treats to be found here.
From several movie parodies such as Ip Man to Jacky Cheung poking fun at his sometimes overblown Cantopop style to the actors acknowledging infomerical-style the long list of sponsors featured in the movie, 72 Tenants of Prosperity always seems to have its' tongue planted firmly in cheek and never takes itself too seriously, which goes a long way to making the proceedings more enjoyable to watch.
There are some points where 72 Tenants of Prosperity stumbles, though. In one of the usual pitfalls of Lunar New Year comedies, there are just too many characters featured. With most of TVB's stable of actors given at least a cameo, at times it feels like the main story is given short shrift so that the film-makers can shoehorn in yet another character that is only really in place for the purposes of stunt casting to get cheap pops from the audience.
Also, as is par for a major Lunar New Year comedy, there is an unabashedly sappy sentiment running through the production that becomes saccharine and distracting at points. Yes, this is a film that unashamedly promotes itself to local Hong Kong audiences and makes no qualms about wanting to make them feel good as they leave the theatre, but one would think that Hong Kong film-makers have evolved over the past couple of decades to the point that they didn't have to resort to such obvious pandering.