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All You Need is Love
 All You Need is Love

Shu Qi and Richie Jen discover that All You Need is Love.


Year: 2015
Director: Richie Ren, Andy Luo

Andy Luo, Richie Ren, Jian Shi-Geng, Liu Xinxuan, Zeng Xianzhang, Shu Qi


Richie Ren, Shu Qi, Ti Lung, Jiu Kong, Lego Lee, Ma Nien-Sien, Lotus Wang, Hua Shao, Vivian Dawson, Bowie Tsang Bo-Yi

  The Skinny: Pleasant, summery romcom that makes little sense but gets by on the winning pairing of Shu Qi and Richie Jen. Not a quality film but star stalkers should be satisfied.
by Kozo:
All You Need is Love makes little sense and ends very abruptly, and yet the stars and the summery setting make minor magic. Co-directors Richie Jen and Andy Luo’s patchwork romcom (the film has two directors and at least eight credited writers, among them lead actors Richie Jen and Shu Qi) is unobtrusive, harmless entertainment despite missing key ingredients like logic and credibility. The story is simple enough: Rich travel blogger Yeh Fen-Fen (Shu Qi) visits Penghu, an archipelago in the Taiwan Strait, for several reasons to be revealed later in the film. Fen-Fen is staying at the Penghu Cove B&B, which dispatches hick co-owner Wu Si-Shan (Richie Jen) to pick her up at the airport. They get off on the wrong foot because he’s late and Fen-Fen is insufferable, and when she sees the state of the B&B (i.e, it’s not like heaven), she’s already turning up her nose and threatening to leave. Si-Shan tries to placate her but he’s more than a little annoyed at this petulant princess. Yep, All You Need is Love sounds like about twenty other films you’ve seen.

Eventually Fen-Fen softens and the two become friends and then potential lovers. Duh. However, the journey towards this expected development is far from smooth – that describes the audience experience and not that of the characters. Shu Qi plays a fabulous mean girl but events do happen that make Fen-Fen rethink her harsh stance towards Si-Shan and his B&B. However, the speed with which she becomes so cheery and friendly is pretty extreme. Before long, Fen-Fen is chatting with Si-Shan’s father (Ti Lung) and other family members, and cooking Shanxi knife-cut noodles to impress her new surrogate family. It’s good that her mood improves because Si-Shan can’t give her his full attention; Si-Shan must suddenly take on odd jobs for extra money because his brother (Lego Lee) and buddy Chen Da-Dong (Jiu Kong) mortgaged their property for a shady investment and were promptly swindled. This “Will the Wu family save their property?” storyline is the film’s official B-plot but it’s mostly a device to manufacture family strife.

Of greater concern is Fen-Fen’s attempt to retrace her mother’s footsteps, which qualifies as one of the “several reasons” mentioned earlier. Fen-Fen wishes to find the actual Penghu Cove but Si-Shan says that it doesn’t really exist. Still, Fen-Fen asks that Si-Shan take her to all the coves in Penghu just in case. This cove hunt forms the structure of the story that allows Fen-Fen and Si-Shan to get together, right? Actually, no. The subplot is barely revisited because of Si-Shan’s odd jobs, and for some reason Fen-Fen chooses to accompany him and assist with his work. Is she also being paid or is she free labor? The film doesn’t say. One job that Fen-Fen doesn’t attend is Si-Shan’s gig with “On the Road to Love,” a China dating show that matches hot rich girls with local guys. This creates opportunities for Fen-Fen to be jealous, but whatever – by now the whole plot has devolved into inanity. All You Need is Love endlessly meanders and never establishes a reasonable timeline. Is Fen-Fen at the B&B for a couple of weeks? A couple of months? Coherently establishing this info counts as a storytelling skill.

Thankfully, the film gives Shu Qi and Richie Jen space to develop a comfortable, winning chemistry. Despite Fen-Fen’s inconsistencies, Shu Qi oozes personality and Jen is super-likeable, though he’s really too old for his role. Si-Shan shares many similarities, including approximate age and general disposition, with Mor Mor Cha, his character in the 2000 hit Summer Holiday. Wow, it’s been fifteen years and Richie Jen is still playing the same characters? Time flies but things are apparently not changing. Regardless, the star power and picturesque island setting are enough to make All You Need is Love clichéd but pleasant fluff, which should be enough for general audiences looking for a minor distraction. What nobody might like, though, is the abrupt ending, which cuts off after a decision is made but before the expected and probably preferred end. Ehh, let’s count our blessings. All You Need is Love needs a whole lot more to be considered quality, but Shu Qi and Richie Jen get a thumbs up for their very substantial screen charm. See this for them or not at all. (Kozo, 9/2015)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Panorama (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS
Removable English and Chinese subtitles

*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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