This time last year, Crazy Stone was the surprise box-office hit in China. A low-budget (US$375,000) affair shot on HD with a no-name cast, the comedy caper about incompetent thieves captured the imagination of Chinese audiences "by having true-life characters," according to one observer. "A lot of domestic films are too far from real life and don't win the audience's heart." Ning Hao, the director of the film, described his characters as "grassroots people. They are clever, hard working and scrupulous. They have their own belief and logic, but they are also worthy of being mocked." At the 43rd Golden Horse Awards, devoted to honoring Chinese films, Crazy Stone won Best Screenplay and was nominated for Best Feature, Director and Editing.

You might wonder why such a popular film never made much of an impression beyond China. One reason may be that a majority of the humor is based on Mandarin-language wordplay, which English subtitles cannot possibly convey. (I watched an import DVD and didn't get any of the jokes.) Perhaps as a result, it played at only a handful of film festivals. Still, it looks snazzy and is packed with action, as the trailer attests, and the response must have been an encouraging sign for local filmmakers.

It's no surprise, then, that the cast has ben reunited for another comic adventure, entitled Wedding. The plot, as reported by crienglish.com, is about "a girl named Xiao Tao [who] is dumped by her fiancé on their wedding day. Feeling disappointed by love and marriage, she begins taking out insane revenge against various men. Eventually she meets a man called Lao Guo, and everything changes." Crazy Stone's co-writer, Zhang Cheng, takes on the directing reins; filming is underway and Wedding is expected to be released by the end of the year. I'm hoping the comedy translates a bit more, otherwise I'll have to start learning Mandarin.