Office work is funny business

An unexpected hit movie looks at the humorous side of the misery that reigns over cubicle kingdoms, Xu Fan reports.

By XU FAN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-08 08:57
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Johnny Keep Walking!, a comedy hit, features Da Peng (on the ladder) as a factory technician who mistakenly receives a series of promotions. CHINA DAILY

Within the past several weeks since the comedy hit Johnny Keep Walking! topped the country's single-day box-office charts for more than a month, Ying Luojia, the movie's producer and co-writer, has found herself reconnecting with many friends she hasn't been in touch with for a long time. "They jokingly said the characters in the movie are like their alter egos because they express their confusion and frustration while enduring immense workplace stress," Ying tells China Daily in an online interview.

This widespread resonance is the key factor behind the movie's soaring success as the biggest dark horse in the last month of the Year of the Rabbit. Since its release across theaters on the Chinese mainland on Dec 29, the 117-minute film has brought in around 1.24 billion yuan ($172.3 million) as of Tuesday, a remarkable achievement in the recently comparatively sluggish market.

The film tells the story of an honest and hardworking factory fitter who, by a twist of fate, is mistakenly transferred to the corporate headquarters located in the provincial city. When the human resources department's staffer who handles the transfer discovers the mistake, he resorts to every means possible to cover it up.

Ironically, due to the fitter's straightforward and simple way of thinking, as well as being incorrectly presumed to have a special relationship with the chairman, he receives consecutive promotions, resulting in his annual pay rising from 400,000 yuan to 1.5 million yuan. However, as the plot unfolds, the truth behind the unusual transfer is gradually exposed, revealing a scheme involving corruption and conflicts among high-ranking executives.

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