Combustible Celluloid
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With: Stephen Chow, Xu Jiao, Kitty Zhang, Lee Shing-Cheung, Fun Min Hun, Huang Lei, Yao Wen Xue, Han Yong Wua, Lam Tze Chung, Hu Qian Lin
Written by: Stephen Chow, Fung Chi Chiang, Vincent Kok, Sandy Shaw Lai-King, Tsang Kan-Cheung
Directed by: Stephen Chow
MPAA Rating: PG for language, thematic material, some rude humor and brief smoking
Language: Cantonese with English subtitles
Running Time: 88
Date: 01/30/2008

CJ7 (2008)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Bad Dog

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Stephen Chow wrote, directed and starred in two of Hong Kong's all-time biggest hits, the highly enjoyable, fast-moving comedies Shaolin Soccer (2001) and Kung Fu Hustle (2005). Admittedly, that's a tough feat to have to follow up, but Chow bungles it spectacularly with CJ7, a kind of sci-fi comedy (with no kung fu) destined to disappoint his fans. A deliberate copy of E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Lilo & Stitch (2002), CJ7 tells the story of a poor boy, Dicky (Xu Jiao -- a girl in drag) and his hard-working, hard-luck father (Chow). Dicky's father spends every last cent to send Dicky to a ritzy school so that he'll have a chance in life, but Dicky doesn't play well with others and gets poor grades. One night while searching for necessities in a junkyard, Dicky's father comes across a funny green ball, which turns out to be a cute alien dog. The dog causes lots of problems, but also eventually changes everyone's life for the better. Chow's usual obsession with lower class life becomes tiresome here, sprinkled with sentiment rather than humor; it's pitched way too high with too much syrup. This type of thing usually happens when a filmmaker has children; it's akin to Spielberg going back to E.T. and digitally erasing all the guns. Kitty Zhang Yuqi co-stars as an unlikely love interest for Chow.

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