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Marriage with a Liar
Marriage with a Liar (2011)

Chrissie Chau looks for some pre-wedding fun in Marriage with a Liar
Chinese: 婚前試愛  
Year: 2010  
Director: Patrick Kong (Yip Lim-Sum)
Writer: Patrick Kong (Yip Lim-Sum)
Producer: Wong Jing
Cast: Chrissie Chau Sau-Na, Him Law, Carol Yeung Tsz-Yiu, Z.O. (Chen Zhi-Ming), Charmaine Fong Ho-Man Jacqueline Chong Si-ManEvergreen Mak Cheung-Ching, Anjaylia Chan Ka-Po, Dada Lo Chung-Chi, Timmy Hung Tin-Ming King Kong
The Skinny: Another Patrick Kong "love sucks" special, only snappier, racier and with hotter stars. Too bad they aren't better actors, and too bad Patrick Kong still hasn't learned how to properly direct a film. The plus is that Marriage with a Liar is short and breezes by quickly. Trashy, crappy and sometimes fun if cinema rubbernecking is your thing.
 
Review
by Kozo:

Set your cinema quality alert to orange. Not only is Marriage with a Liar directed by Hong Kongís highest profile purveyor of quality-impaired cinema, Patrick Kong a.k.a. Yip Lim-Sum, it also happens to be produced by Hong Kongís most famous schlockmeister Wong Jing. Marriage stars ubiquitous and curvaceous Chrissie Chau as Kiki, a hot Hong Kong honey who wakes up one morning after a roll in the hay with Jack (Taiwan model Z.O.). Cue the first of many flashbacks, as Chrissie recalls the hours leading up to her tryst. We discover that sheís engaged to hunky cop Jerry (Him Law), and her infidelity was the result of an evening of circumstance, including heavy drinking, a run-in with Indian bar bullies, and the fact that her wedding is due to happen very soon. She didnít mean it, but Kiki boo-booed. Donít we all.

Kiki still wants to marry Jerry, but Jack offers something Jerry canít: some supposedly guilt-free action for her final days of single womanhood. And why wouldnít Kiki want extra bedroom fun on the side? Anyway, sheís always dressed for it. True to Chrissie Chau form, the (in)famous model parades about the screen in super-short skirts and cleavage-baring tops, and characters constantly make reference to her state of (un)dress. Hormone-wise, Chau is a step up from Patrick Kongís usual leading lady Stephy Tang, who starred in all of Kongís previous films before Chau snagged the lead role this time. One would hope that the Tang-to-Chau switch also includes an acting upgrade, but Chauís limited emotional range makes Tang look like an award-winning thespian. Itís obvious where Chauís talent(s) lie, but subtlety and character are things she needs to work on.

However, Chau isnít even the worst actor in the movie. That honor could be reserved for either Him Law, whoís shrill and uncharismatic as drama king Jerry, or Carol Yeung, who plays Jerryís other love interest Bobo with the overbearing cuteness of a chirpy hamster. The two characters engage in their own potential tryst once Jerryís side of the story comes to light, with Bobo offering Jerry the same thing that Jack offers Kiki Ė some no-strings-attached bedroom action only days before Kiki and Jerryís coming wedding. Oddly, thereís only three days left before the ceremony and apparently nobody has to deal with the wedding preparations, i.e. they both have time to leave town for side affairs. Who's going to pick up the flowers and yell at the photographer? Blatant unrealism of their wedding planning aside, Jerry and Kiki are now on a collision course for a possible cancelation. Can Kiki and Jerry pull it together before their 30-table banquet becomes a disaster?

Actually, we have no idea how big the banquet is because the filmmakers donít even bother to shoot it properly. Like many a Patrick Kong production before it, Marriage with a Liar is noticeably cheap, with art direction, lighting and staging handled in a manner suggesting a pro-bono student film shot on a shoestring budget on the weekends. In Hong Kong, films are notoriously regarded as quickie product, but Kongís films seems to take that fast-food mentality too far, making one of filmís obvious attractions (i.e., how they look) and crapping all over it. Kong doesnít skimp on his writing, however, delivering the same sensationalistic and negative observations on Hong Kong love that have become his calling card. The film does possess some incisive ideas on how young lovers think, but the characters inevitably display an ugly cynicism and self-absorption that would be excessive even by soap opera standards. Thereís entertainment value here, but itís most assuredly guilty.

But hey, thatís what Patrick Kongís films are: guilty entertainment. Itís hard to recommend a Patrick Kong film because theyíre atrociously made and terribly acted, but they do reflect certain aspects of the Hong Kong dating experience Ė and they do it well. Also, despite possessing more flashbacks than the entire six seasons of Lost, Marriage with a Liar runs at less than ninety minutes, turning what could have been an interminable, trashy youth romance into just a trashy youth romance. Wong Jing may be the one to thank here; someone seems to have advised Kong to do away with his usual endless running times, with the result being a snappily-edited, faster-paced movie than Kongís usual marathon efforts. The short running time allows the filmís obvious negatives to bother but not aggravate, with the whole thing becoming instantly forgettable and possibly even entertaining, if one enters with the right mindset.

And what is that mindset? That itís fun to rubberneck, itís even better when everyone has a super-sized chest (Chrissie Chau, Carol Yeung and even Him Law all possess splendid upper bodies), and itís always guilty fun to play voyeur. Marriage with a Liar resembles viral YouTube sensations where youngsters break up while shouting, screaming and also bemoaning their ďpoor meĒ love lives. The attraction here is obvious; many people agree that love sucks and that their love life is the pits, and itís fun seeing that self-absorption played out onscreen. Another selling point: the film possesses racier-than-normal love scenes, plus bareback exposure from the actresses and even some side-breast nudity (Yow!). Patrick Kong knows what heís doing here: this is his usual product, but heís upped the game slightly for his fans, giving them hotter actors, more flesh, and even more canned, cynical platitudes about love. Itís just another day at the office for Patrick Kong. For audiences, itís more of the same too. (Kozo 2010)

 

Availability:

DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Vicol Entertainment Ltd.
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc

   
   
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