Michael Hui can almost guarantee an audience. At the time, he was easily the best comic writer-actor in colonial Hong Kong. Teppanyaki, where he plays a chef, builds on his reputation, although compared to hits such as Security Unlimited (1981), Hui's writing seems a little lacklustre. It's still a delightful comedy and most moviegoers will enjoy it - and then again, Security Unlimited was a hard act to follow.
The ingredients (pun not intended) are there: the chef, subject to abuse by his spoilt wife and her (usually armed) father (who owns the restaurant he works at), his best friend and his 103-year-old grandfather, and their relationship. The chef (Hui) has fallen for a calendar girl (Sally Yeh), which puts additional strain on his work and home life.
It still illustrates how naturally writing and acting come to Michael Hui. There are some fantastic moments - such as the eyebrow shaving and the tennis game using a frying pan - but they come less often than in some of Hui's earlier efforts. There's a feeling that there could be something extra. Good, but not great.