Happy Times
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A man stretching the truth for his own sake soon begins doing the same for someone else, with increasingly complicated results, in this gentle comedy from China. Zhao (Zhao Benshan) is a guy in his early fifties who's out of work but still wants to marry his girlfriend (Dong Lifan). However, his often cranky sweetheart thinks he runs a hotel, and Zhao is trying to keep the illusion alive with the help of his pal Li (Li Xuejian) by turning an abandoned bus into a "love hotel" for couples who lack privacy in their homes. But business isn't all that good, since the old-fashioned… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A provocative, touching, surprising and obliquely illuminating piece."
‑ Susan Stark, Detroit News
"The performances are winning all around. And the comic, slice-of-life feel is charming, but takes a hike as the film progresses."
‑ Tom Sime, Dallas Morning News
"Jie Dong, who makes her film debut as the blind and unwanted Little Wu, is thin, tough and heartbreakingly lovely."
‑ Marcy Dermansky, About.com
"Happy Times sounds like any of the dozens of heart-tugging comedies that Miramax seems to release every month, but it has such a peculiar premise and the central performance by Zhao Benshan is so winning that Zhang gets away with it by the skin of"
‑ Paul Matwychuk, Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
"Even legends like Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston occasionally directed trifles... so it's no surprise to see a world-class filmmaker like Zhang Yimou behind the camera for a yarn that's ultimately rather inconsequential."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"Not a film to rival To Live, but a fine little amuse-bouche to keep your appetite whetted."
‑ Janice Page, Boston Globe
"The film's maudlin focus on the young woman's infirmity and her naive dreams play like the worst kind of Hollywood heart-string plucking."
‑ Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
"...director Zhang Yimou imbues the story with enough heart and humor to prevent it from resembling something out of a '70s horror flick."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"..it pulls all the heart strings it can in a shameless attempt to get real emotions."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"It is life affirming and heartbreaking, sweet without the decay factor, funny and sad."
‑ Mark Halverson, Sacramento News & Review
"Metaphors abound, but it is easy to take this film at face value and enjoy its slightly humorous and tender story."
‑ Marta Barber, Miami Herald
"An engaging and specific portrait of a culture in transition, even as it evokes humanity's most universal and timeless values."
‑ Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"The basic premise is intriguing but quickly becomes distasteful and downright creepy."
‑ Jamie Gillies, Apollo Guide
"One might relate this story to Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. There is much to dislike in the message, but it's hard not to enjoy the craftsmanship of the tale."
‑ Forrest Hartman, Reno Gazette-Journal
"Zhang Yimou delivers warm, genuine characters who lie not through dishonesty, but because they genuinely believe it's the only way to bring happiness to their loved ones."
‑ Jason Korsner, BBC
More reviews for Happy Times on Rotten Tomatoes