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Paris Holiday

Louis Koo comforts Amber Kuo in Paris Holiday.


Year: 2015
Director: James Yuen Sai-Sang

Alvin Lam, Liu Kailuo, Ng Kin-Hung


James Yuen Sai-Sang, Lo Yiu-Fai, Michelle Wong


Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Amber Kuo, Alex Fong Chung-Sun, Hu Jing, Candy Liu, Janice Man, Anthony Chan, Jones Xu, Carlos Chan Ka-Lok, Simon Lui Yu-Yeung, Michelle Wai, Carl Ng Ka-Lung, James Yuen Sai-Sang

The Skinny:

Formulaic but entertaining romcom that serves its genre and audience decently. The lead actors and Paris location do a lot to offset a draggy, unsatisfying third act. Co-starring Pepsi and Lay’s potato chips.

by Kozo:
Paris Holiday stars the Man with the Tan, Louis Koo, and some girl from Taiwan. Sorry to erase the identity of actress Amber Kuo, but that’s likely how most Hong Kongers will see this romantic comedy: as yet another film starring the insanely overexposed Koo that lacks a Hong Kong actress of equal stature – meaning Miriam Yeung or Sammi Cheng and pretty much nobody else. The lack of audience enthusiasm is a shame, because Paris Holiday is actually an agreeable if not exemplary entry in an essential movie genre, and the stars go a long way towards making it work. It ain’t art but if you were expecting that, well, that’s your fault.

Koo stars as Lam Chun-Kit, a yuppie who decides to “cut loss” from his Hong Kong life and move to Paris for a job managing a wine label. Immediately, Chun-Kit encounters Romcom Problems™. He leases a flat through middleman Michael Lau (Alex Fong) but is forced to put up with the previous tenant, recently jilted art student Ding Xiao-Min (Amber Kuo). She’s in a bad state after breaking up with her artist boyfriend (Jeremy Tsui a.k.a. Jones Xu a.k.a. some other name that I forget) so nobody wants to disturb her too much. Unfortunately, she disturbs Chun-Kit big time with her poor hygiene, ghastly complexion and depressed-but-silly-and-cute antics. He wants out but soon changes his mind and begins to help her move forward.

Oh, she thinks he’s gay. Thanks to Romcom Problems™, Michael tells Xiao-Min that Chun-Kit is homosexual, meaning Chun-Kit must pretend to be her “sister” when he’s really a heterosexual dude. Scratch that – Chun-Kit is a super awesome heterosexual dude, as evidenced by his caring decisions and the scores of self-help slogans and positive affirmations he spews to get Xiao-Min out of her rut. Chun-Kit is basically a Break-Up Yoda, and while there are reasons for his extreme motivational skills, they’re only marginally clever. Said reasons are explained in long flashbacks and droning voiceovers, which can be annoying. Still, at the very least the expository sequences take a story that makes no sense and makes sense of it.

This is a star vehicle, and both stars ride it for all it’s worth. Both Louis Koo and Amber Kuo handle the situation comedy and light drama well. Kuo has shown real versatility with a recent string of diverse big-screen roles (Tiny Times (Sex) Appeal, Triumph in the Skies), while Koo resists phoning in a part that he could have sleepwalked through. Key supporting players are strong; as the couple’s Paris friends, Hu Jing is warm and Alex Fong playfully steals scenes while Janice Man shows surprising presence in what’s mostly a superfluous role. A special shoutout should also be given to Pepsi and Lays’ potato chips; the two tastes apparently go great together and they make sure we know it by photobombing a number of scenes.

Paris Holiday ends predictably and it takes a loooong time to get there. Director-writer James Yuen probably liked earning a paycheck in Paris too much to pick up the pace, and luxuriates through the final third of the film. As is, the film seems to threaten that Chun-Kit and Xiao-Min won’t get together simply by extending and overcomplicating its climax. The draggy home stretch mars what’s otherwise an entertaining if only marginally better-than-average trifle that’s suitable for its intended audience. This type of cinema and its required features – good stars, competent direction, hilariously obvious product placement – are necessary in every commercial film industry so we should simply be happy when it doesn’t offend or insult. Paris Holiday does neither and I’m calling that a win. (Kozo, 8/2015)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Universe Laser (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also available on Blu-ray Disc
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