The Shopaholics (2006)
Produced and directed from a screenplay he co-wrote with Au Kin-Yee, Wai Ka-Fai finally hits full comedy stride with The Shopaholics. Since splitting with long time associate Johnnie To Kei-Fung, Wai's been mining old Hong Kong movies to work out his heavy-handed intellectual comedy scenarios. This film is quite delightful.
The material as directed gives the principal actors many chances to work their craft. Lau Ching-Wan gives his usual rubbery faced performance as the hard luck guy with a heart of gold. Cecelia Cheung Pak-Chi's character affords the actress plenty of chances to laugh, to cry, and to look forlorn.
If that previous sentence seems familiar, that is because I recently wrote the same thing about Derek Yee's Lost in Time. This is actually the third time Wai has worked with these two actors so they seem to finally have it right. The film is actually very funny and well-written. The proceedings are helped by the performances of Paula Tsui Siu-Fung, Ha Chun-Chau, and Law Kar-Ying. The production design is exquisite; the use of color outstanding. Veteran cinematographer Horace Wong Wing-Hang makes it all look great.