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Fit Lover
Fit Lover     Fit Lover

(left) Huang Bo gives Karena Lam a gift, and (right) Lam poses in Fit Lover.
Chinese: 愛情呼叫轉移 2 愛情左右  
Year: 2008  
Director: Zhang Jianya  
Cast: Karena Lam Ka-Yan, Huang Bo, Huang Xiaoming, Leo Koo Kui-Kei, Fan Wei, Alec Su, Deng Chao, Lu Yi, Tong Dawei, Huang Lei, Naoki Hosaka, Nie Yuan, Lin Shen, Zhang Jun-Zhu, Xu Zheng, Jessey Meng, Bai Bing
The Skinny: Interminable Lunar New Year film that misses the mark almost completely. The comedy is boring, the romance uninteresting, and the drama disturbingly funny. The parade of male stars is somewhat diverting, but Karena Lam oddly is not. A big hit in China, which is pretty frightening. If you switch around the vowels in the title you can call this film Fit Liver or Fat Lover.
by Kozo:

The Hong Kong-China mash-up continues with Fit Lover, a sequel to the Mainland hit Call For Love. That 2007 film featured bald comedian Xu Zheng as a divorcee who uses a magical cell phone to meet potential mates, all played by comely Mainland starlets (e.g., Fan Bing-Bing, Eva Huang, plus others who are likely unfamiliar to the Hong Kong Cinema faithful). Fit Lover features nearly the same concept, but reverses the sexes, with the love-seeking female lead played by Karena Lam, the go-to star of the film's Hong Kong-based co-producer, Filmko Pictures. Lam plays 29 year-old Nie Bing, an emotional consultant and TV host who has nightmares of growing old and dying alone with her only company being a black cat with creepy, green glowing eyes. Desperation would seem to be in order.

Help arrives in the form of a heavenly angel, played with annoying gusto by Huang Bo of Crazy Stone. Instead of a cell phone, Nie Bing gets the keys to a spiffy red economy car (a Honda Fit, hence the film's sickening English title), and is told that the car will lead her to 12 eligible bachelors over the course of one year. She immediately puts her good fortune to use, and meets a parade of handsome (and not so handsome) guys, ranging from an overly romantic insurance salesman to a psychiatrist who dabbles in the stock market, a self-punishing artist, an insane actor, a mousy fitness freak, and even one or two guys from her past. Eventually she selects one, but not before mugging up a storm and engaging in lots of sloppy shtick. Karena Lam is simply divine to look at, but her acting in Fit Lover barely exceeds sitcom level. That all the emotions are false or forced gives her some excuse. Our issue then should be her choice of roles.

The material is largely to blame; Fit Lover is cheesy commercial stuff, and hardly a showcase for anyone with talent. That said, director Zhang Jianya should get some scorn for his inability to mix comedy and drama. Some moments in Fit Lover attempt pathos, but the effect is more laughable than touching. One tragic flashback to a person getting hit by a car actually comes off as hilarious. It's likely that Zhang didn't intend for anyone to laugh when seeing a woman get hit by a car, but that's only the beginning of his missteps. Like his previous Call For Love, Fit Lover lacks any character arc or progression, and is only loosely constructed. However, Zhang tries for greater emotions this time, with usually annoying or interminable results. The patchwork soundtrack (which combines George Gershwin with dentist office muzak) only makes it all seem worse.

There are some superficial positives. Looking at Karena Lam could be attractive to some, and the parade of known and not-so-known actors should please females. Since Call For Love featured popular female stars as Xu Zheng's potential lovers, Fit Lover logically features popular male stars as Nie Bing's 12 suitors. Actors like Leo Koo, Lu Yi, Tong Dawei, Alec Su and Deng Chao make appearances, with many playing self-effacing if one-dimensional roles. Comedian Fan Wei is funny as one of Nie Bing's older suitors and hunky Huang Xiaoming (a.k.a. the "Mainland Louis Koo") steals the show as a debonair traffic cop. Call For Love star Xu Zheng also appears in an amusing cameo, which only hammers home the point that the first film was superior.

Seeing all the actors is diverting, though it helps to have a checklist just so you know how many more will show up before the movie is scheduled to end. I'll ruin it for you and reveal that the movie ends when Karena Lam and her destined fellow meet in front of a gaudy CG-created backdrop, whereupon their matching Honda Fits bump into one another before rolling around like they're making out. Yes, you read that correctly: there is a scene of two Honda Fits touching bumpers and then rolling all over the place on top of one another. Besides being ultra-crass product placement, the sight is also mildly disturbing. That bizarre scene caps off this unbelievable cringe fest, and almost qualifies as one of Fit Lover's true highlights. However, to get to that point, you'll have to watch the whole movie. Good luck. (Kozo 2009)


DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 PAL
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc

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image credit: Filmko Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen