Or ‘Three Weddings and a Stroke’, which would roughly describe the sensation of watching this hyperactive and needlessly protracted Hong Kong comedy. A sequel to an immensely popular, self-contained chamber piece from a few years back, Table for Six 2 balloons the scope, scale, budget, and candy-coloured lunacy to unbearable levels. While it is certainly unpredictable, a claim few romcoms can genuinely make, the result is a bewildering blur of weird plotting and spastic editing that wears out its charm long before it judders to a close.
Sunny Chan‘s sequel picks up with five of the six characters from the original (Dayo Wong‘s Steve is absent) over the course of three weddings. Half brothers Bernard and Lung (Louis Cheung and Charm Man Chan) are now betrothed to their respective partners Monica and Josephine (Stephy Tang and Ivana Wong). Influencer Meow (Lin Min-Chen) is sans Steve, but there may be a spark with pop idol Mark Gor (Jeffrey Ngai). Amid the glitz and the chaos the long-standing bonds get strained and the close knit group begins to unravel.
Right from the off, Table for Six 2 is pure overload as the two half-siblings throw a staged wedding to promote their business. Social media is a central theme of the film and practically every event is viewed through that lens. From the enclosed, intimate spaces of the original, there’s hardly a moment here that doesn’t have an army of gurning vultures streaming every second. Yet everything is so manic and aggressively staged that there’s never any sense of a pointed message about the needs for likes, hits, and influence. In fact, for a movie whose principle theme is commitment, it never commits to any particular commentary or subtext. Everything hammers past in such a crazed rush that nothing of any substance gets a chance to resonate.
As a result there isn’t much characterisation. This is likely down to the filmmakers presumption of previous knowledge from the original film. Come in blind and there’s a sense of the twin brothers bumbling, Josephine is a feisty little master chef, Monica is permanently frustrated with the wild schemes of her fiance, and Meow hides her hurt behind a guise of ironic surface cool. For those coming in blind there’s little to acclimate. The humour is so broad and bizarre that you’re still piecing together what you’ve just watched, let alone had a chance to laugh, before it hurtles to the next scene. The small subtitles that frequently blend in against lighter backgrounds really don’t help either.
For those familiar with the original, there is obviously much to enjoy. The cast are fun and obviously have a practiced chemistry. But even those who love the first film for its simple, elegant setup and the intricacies of its character dynamics have tended to agree that the expansion of the scale has been at the expense of many of the elements that made Table for Six the third-highest grossing film in the history of Hong Kong. The advice would be to seek out the original, as there is little here for the uninitiated.
In selected cinemas from Fri 9 Feb 2024