Over My Dead Body review – corpse comedy takes on Hong Kong property market

Goofy story about the residents of a ritzy apartment block racing to get rid of a murder victim

The madness of the Hong Kong property market takes centre stage in this goofy Cantonese-language comedy, set almost entirely over the course of one chaotic night in a luxury high-rise apartment block. Directed by Ho Cheuk-tin, it imagines how a bunch of ordinary Hongkongers would handle the unexplained appearance of a very naked and very dead man in their building.

Proceedings kick off when Ming (Wong You-nam) is having dinner with his wife (Jennifer Yu) in the apartment owned by his penny-pinching mother-in-law (Teresa Mo). When they hear a sinister thump outside the flat, they go to investigate – and find the corpse. Calling the police, they agree, would be risky, as their apartment could become a notorious “murder home” and lose value. So they try to make the corpse someone else’s problem, by dumping it outside another flat. Soon, other residents are drawn into the buck-passing, including two retired teachers and a failed footballer. As they all try to get rid of the body, they find a common enemy in Jiro Lee Sheung-ching’s believably priggish security guard.

It’s a frustrating film, as it’s nearly good. There are plenty of jokes, but none are very funny; there are moments of poignancy, but few are allowed to linger for long enough to make an impression. The acting is fine, but the characters are recognisable types: a fearsome matriarch who turns out to have a gooey side, a super-cool fashionista who isn’t as mean as she looks. And while the cinematography gives the film a pleasing, TikTokky immediacy, it all feels quite inane.

The residents do eventually remember what life is really about (friendship, family etc) but what brings them together in the first place is a shared desire to prevent the largest asset they own from depreciating. In the end the whole thing is quite depressing.

• Over My Dead Body is released on 21 April in UK cinemas.


Leaf Arbuthnot

The GuardianTramp

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