Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity

on September 07, 2002 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
After stumbling with her second film, "Drive, She Said," Vancouver filmmaker Mina Shum has returned to the setting of her debut film, "Double Happiness": her hometown's Chinese-Canadian community. But whereas "Double Happiness" was a charming confection, "Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity" is more often forced than affecting.

Shum juggles three tales, each referring to one of the fortunes in the film's title. A precocious 12-year-old girl (Valerie Tian) uses Taoist magic to try to find a boyfriend for her mother (Sandra Oh); a butcher (Ric Young) attempts to connect with his son while hiding the fact that he is estranged from his father; and a security guard (Chang Tseng) loses his job but does not tell his loyal wife that he is unemployed. The characters in the movie glance off each other in Shum's trite magic realist world but, except for Oh's nice turn as a bitter, sarcastic single mom, they leave as much of an impression as a glibly written fortune cookie. Starring Sandra Oh, Valerie Tian and Chang Tseng. Directed by Mina Shum. Written by Mina Shum and Denis Foon. Produced by Christina Jennings and Scott Garvie. A Film Movement release. Comedy/Drama. Chinese- and English-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 93 min

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