7.4/10
3,693
41 user 64 critic

Happy Times (2000)

Xing fu shi guang (original title)
Trailer
1:49 | Trailer

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Zhao is an aging bachelor who hasn't been lucky in love. Thinking he has finally met the woman of his dreams, Zhao leads her to believe he is wealthy and agrees to a wedding far beyond his ... See full summary »

Director:

Yimou Zhang

Writers:

Yan Mo (novel), Gai Zi
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Benshan Zhao ... Zhao
Jie Dong ... Wu Ying
Lifan Dong Lifan Dong ... Stepmother
Biao Fu Biao Fu ... Little Fu
Xuejian Li ... Li
Qibin Leng Qibin Leng ... Wu Ying's Stepbrother
Ben Niu Ben Niu ... Old Niu
Jinghua Gong Jinghua Gong ... Aunty Liu
Hongjie Zhang Hongjie Zhang ... Lao Zhang
Bingkun Zhao Bingkun Zhao ... Lao Bai
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Honglei Sun ... Customer at 'Happy Times'
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Storyline

Zhao is an aging bachelor who hasn't been lucky in love. Thinking he has finally met the woman of his dreams, Zhao leads her to believe he is wealthy and agrees to a wedding far beyond his means. Zhao's best friend Li hatches the idea to raise the money by refurbishing an abandoned bus, which they will rent out by the hour--the Happy Times Hotel--to young couples starved for privacy. Unfortunately, this plan goes awry because Zhao is too old fashioned to allow the couples to leave the bus door closed. Meanwhile, Zhao's fiancee introduces him to her spoiled son and beautiful blind stepdaughter Wu Ying, whom she sees as a burden. To be rid of the girl, she insists that Zhao take her to the Happy Times Hotel and give her a job. Zhao reluctantly agrees, then creates a series of deceptions to keep the girl occupied, including setting her up as a masseuse and enlisting his friends to pretend to be her customers. Everything that is happening between Zhao and Wu is superficially about ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

China

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

31 December 2000 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

Happy Times See more »

Filming Locations:

China

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,900,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,084, 28 July 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$239,134, 10 November 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | Dolby SR

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Zhang Yimou issued a casting call via the Internet for role of the blind girl. Eventual lead Dong Jie was selected from some 40,000 girls who auditioned for the role. See more »

Alternate Versions

SPOILER: In the original China-released ending, Zhao is not involved in a car accident. He writes a letter as the girl's dad and reads it to her as the lights dim and the credits roll. This ending is available in certain DVD releases. See more »

Connections

Featured in Late Night with Conan O'Brien: Episode #9.156 (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The wrong things; the right reasons
7 February 2004 | by Junker-2See all my reviews

Zhao is a 50 year old unemployed loser making one last attempt at finding love. He courts a portly divorcee, but keeps having to lie to pass himself off as a better catch than he really is. Eventually, of course, the lies backfire. Zhao tells his sweetheart that he is the manager of a fancy hotel. She responds by foisting her blind stepdaughter off on him, confident that he can easily find her employment at his fancy hotel.

What follows is a funny, unlikely and touching relationship between Zhao and the blind girl Wu. While Zhao is terribly misguided, constructing elaborate deceptions to keep Wu "employed" at the non-existent hotel, he does these wrong things for the right reasons. Zhao does find love, but it isn't the woman or the love he expected.

This is an excellent film and there are three big reasons why: First of all, it's directed by Zhang Yimou who may well be the best director alive. This isn't a masterpiece like "Raise the Red Lantern," but seeing the phrase "Directed by Zhang Yimou" should be enough to tell you the next two hours will be well spent.

The second and third reasons are Benshan Zhao as Zhao and Jei Dong as Wu. Zhao is a respected Chinese comedian, but the role here is really a mixture of comedy and drama. Zhao gives the mixture exactly the right touch. But the real revelation is Jei Dong. I found myself wondering through the entire movie if she were really blind. She is that good. (And I still don't know the answer.)

Don't expect a laugh out loud comedy if you see this movie. It is very funny in places, but frequently that humor is very uncomfortable. And frequently happy times aren't really what they seem.


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