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2 Become 1

Miriam Yeung and Richie Ren in 2 Become 1.
Chinese: 天生一對  
  Year: 2006  
  Director: Law Wing-Cheong  
  Producer: Johnnie To Kei-Fung  
  Writer: Ivy Ho, Fung Chih-Chiang
  Cast: Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah, Richie Ren, Wu Yujun, Jo Koo, Louie Castro, Guo Tao, Liu Xiangjing, Justin Lo, Gordon Lam Ka-Tung, Fung Hak-On, Hui Siu-Hung, Lam Suet, Florence Kwok Siu-Wan, Bonnie Wong Man-Wai, Eddie Cheung Siu-Fai, Maggie Siu Mei-Kei
The Skinny: Entertaining comedy-drama about breast cancer, and the choices - or choice - one woman must make in dealing with it. The film is stuffed with too many obvious thematic devices, but the actors and situations are surprisingly engaging. For commercial filmmaking, this is unspectacular, but worthwhile stuff.
by Kozo:

Miriam Yeung gets breast cancer in the entertaining, though sometimes contrived comedy-drama 2 Become 1. Yeung is Bingo Leung, an advertising exec who discovers her malady in a manner that can only be described as romantic comedy gold. Bingo starts a night of hot-and-bothered passion with lady-killer clinical psychologist V (Richie Ren), only to have him palm her left breast and suddenly pause. After a look of obvious concern, he begins closely examining it because he suspects something is not quite right. However, she kicks him out thinking that he's a pervert, and won't listen to any of his deadly important excuses. It's only after some more mistaken-intent shenanigans that she finally visits the doctor, and discovers the horrible truth: she may need to have her left breast removed via mastectomy. This does not sound like it's going to be Love Undercover 3.

Losing your left breast is a very big deal, but Bingo takes it with a "chin up, let's be positive" attitude that actress Miriam Yeung could sell in her sleep. The reigning queen of Hong Kong comedy is as mouthy and active in 2 Become 1 as she is in any of her trademark romantic comedies. What that means is we get plenty of Yeung giggling girlishly, harranguing other people, and generally acting in a mouthy, sassy manner. This attitude comes into play big time with V, who may have discovered her potentially fatal disease, but is still treated like a persona non grata by Bingo. Even worse, Bingo kicked V in the groin after he went touchy-feely on her left breast, the result being that his equipment doesn't work like it used to. His impotence naturally upsets him, so he reinserts himself into Bingo's life to try to correct matters. She wants nothing to do with him, but like a bad penny, V keeps turning up.

Which is great for Bingo, because she could use the help. Bingo's life with breast cancer may start off on an upbeat, "let's be positive" note, but it soon heads south. That's because Bingo is determined to beat the disease without actually going through with a masectomy, leading to all sorts of false hope and sometimes humorous situations involving alternative medicine, con men, a crappy office environment, and her screechy friends (Wu Yujun and Jo Koo) fighting over the same guy. You'd think a breast cancer-themed film wouldn't go for laughs - and truthfully, 2 Become 1 really isn't that funny.

What it is, however, is surprisingly engaging. Director Law Wing-Cheong manages to combine sap, seriousness, and silliness into a workable commercial mix, and Miriam Yeung and Richie Ren make an attractive, winning pair. Yeung is an ace at comedy, and her dramatic skills aren't so bad either. Richie Ren has played this sort of character before, meaning he's very good at it by now. V is a stock male supporting character: the happy-go-lucky, but exceptionally caring fellow that any female with a brain would never turn down. Not surprisingly, Bingo doesn't turn him down - which is hardly unexpected in a commercial film like this one. Still, when the moment finally arrives, both Yeung and Ren make it worthwhile.

Bingo's journey is also a well-told one, in that it goes from hope to despair and back again, and manages to entertain along the way. There's a decent message in Ivy Ho and Fung Chih-Chiang's script, and many of the scenes between Bingo and V convey it well. The film's thematic success comes despite an abundance of feel-good plot devices that are more contrived and obvious than anything else. When Bingo decides it's time to get back on the feel-good track, her transformation comes with the following subplots: helping her friends make up, helping a wannabe singer (hot-in-HK singer Justin Lo) find success, attending church, helping her colleagues win a big account from their hated rivals, and probably founding a support group for Hong Kong actresses battling typecasting. After a while, we get the message: hope and positive thinking have powers beyond our imagination. But do we really need to be reminded of it in so many ways?

Still, preaching and abundant lessons are rather common in a commercial drama - especially one that tackles the subject of breast cancer. Given the subject matter, we should simply be grateful for a film that mixes in some creativity and laughs along with the expected sermons. 2 Become 1 certainly does that, and manages to be intelligent and thoughtful, if not spectacular stuff. Fans of Johnnie To-produced films can enjoy the numerous appearances by his regular Milky Way Films players (Lam Suet, Hui Siu-Hung, Eddie Cheung, Gordon Lam, Maggie Siu, etc.), and Richie Ren and Miriam Yeung show better chemistry here than in their previous pairing, Elixir of Love. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: considering that so few great Hong Kong films get made nowadays, even an above-average film like 2 Become 1 is cause for celebration. Clapping politely would be a good response. (Kozo 2006)


DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mega Star Video Distribution
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese/Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Media Asia Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen