Site Features
- Asian Film Awards
- Site Recommendations

- Reader Poll Results

- The Sponsor Page
- The FAQ Page
 
support this site by shopping at
Click to visit YesAsia.com
Asian Blu-ray discs at YesAsia.com
 
 
 
 
 
Why Me, Sweetie?!
"Can't this creep take a hint?"

Louis Koo and Cherrie Ying hook up in Why Me, Sweetie?!
Year: 2003
Director: Jingle Ma Chor-Sing
Cast: Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Cherrie Ying Choi-Yi, Tats Lau Yi-Tat
The Skinny: Uneven romantic comedy which is as magnificently manufactured as they come. The film ends much better than it begins, but that isn't necessarily a saving grace. Louis Koo and Cherrie Ying fans will probably be happy, though.
Review
by Kozo:
     Though he started in the horror and triad genres, Louis Koo has since become Hong Kong Cinema's romantic comedy golden boy. The Man with the Tan has played romantic foils to such screen queens as Gigi Leung, Sammi Cheng, Cecilia Cheung and Miriam Yeung, and the result has been generally profitable if not overtly good motion pictures. Koo has thankfully shown good comedic presence, and has never been afraid to poke fun at his own ladykiller image. Why Me, Sweetie?! plays to those strengths, and Koo performs gamely. However, that doesn't necessarily mean the film is good.
     Koo is Don, a studly baker who runs a small but popular bakery in Beijing. An avowed player, he nevertheless is smitten by Ding Ding (Cherrie Ying), an American Born Chinese who charms him with her energetic, offbeat ways. Despite knowing that Don is a player, Ding Ding allows herself to be roped in, and things actually seem to head somewhere for the two. Then the plot device hits. When Don seems to have totally fallen in love with Ding Ding, he suddenly turns red and collapses. When Ding Ding sees him next, he's back to being a total player, and professes not to know her. And, given Koo's smarmy performance, it's hard not to believe him.
     But Ding Ding learns the truth thanks to the intervention of Dr. Chie (Tats Lau), Don's longtime pal. Chie tells Ding Ding that Don has a selective memory disorder, which he gained due to the tragic death of a former lover, who ironically looked exactly like Ding Ding. Chie believes that Ding Ding can somehow help cure Don, and even if he isn't cured, the two can continue their relationship anyway. They use a notebook of Ding Ding facts, temporary tattoos, and many pictures to constantly remind Don of who he's supposed to love. And it seems to work, for a while at least. But can the two actually make a long-term relationship work when one is a part-time amnesiac?
     The concept for this romantic comedy is utterly manufactured, but that's no real surprise. Given the fact that most Hong Kong—and even American—romantic comedies feature a paper-thin premise, one should be able to forgive Why Me, Sweetie?! for its narrative silliness. Sure, all of the couple's problems could easily be solved if Don visited a real brain specialist (Chie is actually a dentist), but if that happened the film wouldn't be able to employ its nifty Groundhog Day/Memento devices. Since Koo is dashingly handsome and Ying is refreshingly adorable, it should be a pleasure to watch the two fall in love again. And again. And yet again. It's like five movies packed into one.
     However, instead of five movies packed into one, Why Me, Sweetie?! feels like one movie stretched on for eternity. Director Jingle Ma makes his actors look good, but his pacing and construction leave a lot to be desired. The film starts with lots of needless fast motion, overdone histrionics, and sometimes grating comedy. Then the film does a complete flip-flop and gets overly dramatic and saccharine for a protracted second half. It's like Ma felt obligated to give us both comedy and drama, but didn't know how to intertwine the two. His inability to handle the material makes the manufactured pathos seem magnified and doubly obvious. The result: an uneven and annoying film that manages to affect, but only because they lay it on so thick at the end. Romantic comedies are preferable if the audience isn't pummelled into buying it.
     Still, the actors are certainly attractive and even charming. Koo and Ying both overact like idiots during the silly scenes, but they handle the dramatic sequences decently. Koo is convincingly lovelorn and teary, a combination that probably sends his swooning female fanbase into throes of ecstasy. And Ying possesses a photogenic charm and energy that's very winning. She could have the makings of a real star, though she should sometimes take it down a notch. Like most ingenues, she doesn't really know how to regulate her performances, and spends too much time mugging and pouting. Hopefully she'll find a way to tone it down in the future.
     Then again, this could all be Jingle Ma's fault. In the past, Ma has taken good resources and made workable entertainment, but his actual ability to craft a film has never been established. His direction of a script seems arbitrary and without any discernible purpose, and he's never shown the ability to direct actors. This can be seen in the uneven performances of the leads, and in the no-name supporting characters, who are utterly faceless and uninteresting. Ma is lucky to have Louis Koo, Cherrie Ying and Tats Lau (in an amusingly droll performance) to bring some life to his manufactured script, which possesses the depth of your average kiddie pool. Ultimately, Why Me, Sweetie?! has far too many cloying and unnecessary moments to make it a truly compelling motion picture. But it also has a lot of Louis Koo and Cherrie Ying, which could be enough for some people. (Kozo 2003)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Entertainment
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Mei Ah Entertainment

   
 
 
LoveHKFilm.com Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen