Chicken and Duck Talk | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Chicken and Duck Talk 

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Hong Kong comedy star and auteur Michael Hui has often been called the Chinese Jerry Lewis, but if rough Hollywood equivalents are needed, W.C. Fields or Rodney Dangerfield might come closer to the mark. Hui's movies tend to deal with changing life-styles in contemporary Hong Kong, and this time he's the embattled owner of a traditional family barbecue restaurant who's losing his customers to a new American-style, fast-food chicken franchise across the street. The raucous feud that ensues, evocative at times of Used Cars, reaches one of its many paroxysmal climaxes when Hui, in a promotional duck suit, has a public brawl with a former employee (Ricky Hui), who's working for the competition in a chicken suit. The gags are vulgar, physical, staccato, and plentiful, and because Hui generally specalizes in gags involving food, he has a bit of a field day here. He also incorporates some sitcom elements (including mother-in-law jokes) and a score that borrows riffs or strains from Tati's Jour de fete and James Bond movies. Clifton Ko directed, and Sylvia Chang costars (1988). (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Thursday, March 12, 6:00, 443-3737)

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