Review: The Mermaid (China 2016)

It may have been a colossal moneymaker, but The Mermaid is pretty far from Stephen Chow’s finest. Still, this bizarre take on The Little Mermaid is damn funny, with all the slapdash CGI and manic hijinks that have come to define late period Chow. Deng Chao is perfect as the sleazy proto-Trumpian millionaire (more of a Citizen Kane really) wreaking havoc on the environment for a quick buck, and Jelly Lin is totally ridiculous as a naïve form of aquatic justice. Some of the sight gags, like Lin’s octopus-man boss, are top notch.  And more importantly, one scene, involving Chao’s attempts to explain to the police that he is being stalked by a mermaid may well be the funniest thing I’ve seen in years – my daughter and I had to watch it over and over again.

3 stars out of 4 (Very Good).  Part of NYAFF 2016.

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