The well-worn Chasing Girls formula gets another go-around with Summer Love Love, a routine booty-chasing movie about a bunch of losers who pursue bikini babes and somehow succeed in getting them. Whoops, spoiler! TVB director Wilson Chin, who made his name via the cooking show Beautiful Cooking, helms this insipid marketing creation, which is only notable for its Pan-China cast and its obvious product placement for Lynx Shower Gel. Called Axe in some territories, Lynx is prominently hawked by a shirtless Siu Fei, who burns the brand name into audience minds along with the image of his out-of-shape upper torso. Axe and Lynx are owned by Unilever, so you should never buy Unilever products again. Please, do it for justice.
Back to the story: Fong (Alex Fong), Ryan (Owodog of Taiwan boy band Lollipop) and Fatty (Siu Fei) take a tour to Hainan, but they’re double-crossed by the travel promoter (Eric Tsang). The trio is robbed and left unconscious on the beach in only their undergarments, but when they wake up they’re in a bikini wonderland. A strange tycoon (Wong Chun-Kei) is holding a contest to find a suitable romantic partner, and a group of hotties has assembled to vie for his attentions. This “Who Wants To Marry a Millionarie” plot is also linked to a fashion show, but by what tenuous narrative thread is difficult to discern, much less care about. Of bigger concern: one of the girls is Fong’s dream idol Minnie (Zhang Xinyu), and through fortuitous happenstance, he becomes her personal assistant. She’s annoyed and, inspired by a late night viewing of My Sassy Girl, makes him follow her while wearing high heels. Obviously, the zenith of romcom creativity has just been reached.
Ryan falls for busty model Carol (Carol Yeung) and attempts to win her favor with an impromptu dance. In his underwear. Annoyed, disgusted or both, Carol’s tomboyish P.A. Elaine (Elanne Kong) runs interference, leading to a romantic complication you can see about three thousand miles away. Meanwhile, Fatty (Siu Fei) locks onto diction-challenged Gigi (Liu Yuqi) so he stalks her incessantly. Strangely, nobody has the brains to call security to get rid of him. Actually, how do three totally random losers in their underwear get free passage to roam a bikini model photo shoot presided over by a billionaire? Ryan says he’s a journalist, but he never carries a camera or a notepad, and Fong only becomes Minnie’s assistant via some Byzantine plotting where her brother (King Kong, not the ape) arranges it to stoke the jealousy of the tycoon. If this story was more useless it would be a snorkel in outer space.
Despite the completely innane plot, Summer Love Love has some positives - though we should preface the discussion of said positives by stating just how terrible everything else is. It’s like math: I’m only going to discuss the good stuff, so subtract that from the whole movie and what’s left — direction, cinematography, visual effects, story, specific actors — is the pits. Got it? Okay, here are the positives: the film has some babes, particularly Zhang Xinyu, whose chest and facial features are so impressive that one might scan the end credits looking for the cosmetic surgery sponsor. Alex Fong is amusing in his sometimes unrestrained commitment to his acting, and the film has a few “so bad it’s funny” moments. Also, one gag involving a potential suicide, a declaration of love, and two bullhorns gets the giggles. Occasionally, Carol Yeung, King Kong, Leefire (as a pretentious personal assistant) and a couple of the other performers aren’t bad. I’m grasping at straws, and these are the ones I chose.
The film’s biggest positive is its cameo-heavy first act. Wilson Chin and producer Paco Wong obviously called in some favors, getting appearances from stars like Ekin Cheng, Miriam Yeung, Stephy Tang, Andy Hui, Dicky Cheung and more. The cameos are hit or miss, but seeing big names abandon their dignity for self-parodying shtick is pretty darn funny. Chasing Girls movies can amuse when the stars are talented or well-known –and many in the film’s early going certainly are. Then they disappear as does all hope of Summer Love Love ever being more than a waste of your precious time. The flip side is that anyone wishing to see Summer Love Love likely knows what they’re in for. This audience is probably happy to watch a chaste fantasy about dopey dorks scoring with babes — and who are we to tell them they shouldn’t? All we can do is plead for everyone else not to judge all Hong Kong movies by this low standard. Really, there are better Hong Kong movies out there. Like the rest of them. (Kozo, 2011)