Chicken Rice War

on May 29, 2002 by Jeff Schwager
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As Japanese master Akira Kurosawa turned “King Lear” into “Ran,” so Singaporan filmmaker Cheah Chee-Kong (known as CheeK) has turned “Romeo and Juliet” into “Chicken Rice War,” the tragic story of two teenagers who fall in love in spite of their feuding families, who own competing chicken rice stands. Okay, it's not really tragic. And it's nothing like “Ran.” In fact, “Chicken Rice War” is an irreverent spoof that uses “Romeo and Juliet” as a template but strays on its own merry way, making its Juliet stand-in, Audrey Chang (May-Yee Lum), a sexy snob and its Romeo, Fenson Wong (Pierre Png), a studious wimp. But when they get to know each other during a school production of “Romeo and Juliet,” he finds the courage to reveal his crush on her and her contempt blossoms into love. Their families, out to sabotage each other's chicken rice stands, provide massive doses of comic relief. Writer-director CheeK, making his feature debut, has cut the film with a madcap glee, and he uses a one-woman chorus to hilarious effect. Starring Pierre Png, May-Yee Lum and Kevin Murphy. Directed and written by CheeK. Produced by Daniel Yun. No distributor set. Comedy. English- and Cantonese-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 98 min.
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