EW Staff
July 14, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Shower

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
92 minutes
performer
Jiang Wu, Pu Cun Xin
director
Yang Zhang
distributor
Sony Pictures Classics
author
Yang Zhang
genre
Foreign Language

We gave it an A

In the opening moments of Shower, a man gets clean in a hilariously high-tech contraption, something akin to a human car wash. But the old ways are the best ways in Zhang Yang’s winning Chinese comedy, a bath of pleasure so appealing that any cavils about conservativism swirl down the drain.

Modern businessman Da Ming (Pu Cun Xin) reluctantly checks up on his aging father, and retarded adult younger brother Er Ming (Jiang Wu) in Beijing, where the two men run a traditional bathhouse. Neighbors soak, chat, sip, and scrub, as others have done for thousands of years. But the old man is getting frail. And without Da Ming’s help, a lovely age-old tradition will vanish in the name of ”modernizing.” What would dry up, too, Zhang demonstrates in deftly arranged scenes, is a kind of openness and communal good will. Without ever dipping into indignity among wet, half-naked men, ”Shower” sparkles with joy.

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