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My Wife is 18
Ekin Cheng and Charlene Choi in My Wife is 18

Ekin Cheng and Charlene Choi in My Wife is 18.
Chinese: 我老婆唔夠秤  
Year: 2002
Director: James Yuen Sai-Sang
Writer: James Yuen Sai-Sang, Chan Hing-Kai, Andy Lo
Cast: Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin, Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin, Richard Ng Yiu-Hon, Sandy Lamb San-San, Ronald Cheng Chung-Kei, Bernice Liu Bik-Yi, Stephanie Che Yuen-Yuen, Patrick Tang Kin-Won, May Lai Shu-Wai, Vonnie Lui Hoi-Yan
The Skinny: James Yuen's fluffy comedy is somewhat sloppy and unbelievable, but the chemistry between leads Ekin Cheng and Charlene Choi redeems things. A reasonably charming if not overly compelling romantic comedy.
by Kozo:

Ekin Cheng admits his cradle-robbing tendencies in My Wife is 18, from prolific writer-director James Yuen. Cheng is Thirteen Cheung, a thirty year-old grad student living in the UK. He's been unable to graduate for many years, as his pet thesis project - about women - has always earned him derision and a swift "fail" from the all-women panel of judges. Cheung doesn't want to change his thesis because he's spent too many years trying to perfect it. Finally, he has to admit the truth: he just doesn't understand women very well.

Luckily, Cheung is about to get a crash course in the fairer sex. His senile grandmother desires to see him married before she passes on, so Cheung agrees to a quickie arranged marriage. The other party is Yoyo Ma (Charlene Choi), an eighteen year-old HK student who's agreeing to the marriage to satisfy her parents. Cheung and Yoyo have no illusions about any lasting bliss; they expect to be divorced within a year.

However, situation comedy occurs - big time. Cheung decides to visit HK to get out of the UK for awhile, and stays with Yoyo at her request. The arrangement is supposed to be one of convenience, but things escalate rather quickly. Yoyo offers to become the subject of his thesis, and even plans to introduce him to her schoolmates at her all-girl school. Cheung does her one better and actually becomes a teacher at the aforementioned school, which leads to the expected shtick as the two pretend to not know one another. This proves more difficult than imagined, as the two are married, but not really a couple. However, when Cheung gets involved with virginal PE teacher Miss Lee (Bernice Liu), Yoyo's hand is forced. Sort of.

The circumstances which bring Yoyo and Cheung together are as manufactured and illogical as you'd expect from a film starring two of EEG's lineup of popstars. The characters hardly feel realistic; Cheung is an immature thirty year-old who openly admits to not understanding women, yet makes them the subject of his thesis, anyway. Still, Cheung is a likable enough guy, only because Ekin Cheng plays him with zero pretensions. This may be the first film in ten trillion years where Ekin Cheng is not a ladykiller or a supercool triad/racer/kung-fu guy. Cheung is a likable, near-virginal dope, and a welcome change of pace for a Man Called Ekin.

The character of Yoyo fares slightly better, as she's one of those deceptively flighty types who masks genuine feelings of inadequacy and fear. As played by Charlene Choi, she's a winning, if somewhat cloying romantic lead. Choi's girlish acting is more than a little overdone, but her enthusiasm and raw emotion are beguiling. She makes a winning, believable girl, though perhaps that's because Choi (at age twenty) is really still just a girl. She and Cheng share a fun chemistry, and their explicitly-discussed age difference makes for good romantic comedy fodder.

If only the film truly gave them stuff to do. While the characters and actors can be enjoyable, the plot cooked up by James Yuen, and Andy Lo is a loosely connected series of mildly entertaining jokes and forgotten subplots - some of which are all-too-familiar and not interesting. The supposed main plotline of Cheung using Yoyo as his thesis subject is underdeveloped and just plain silly, and the ultimate resolution is neither surprising or particularly compelling. The film ends how you expect it would, and without much fanfare or emotionally-involving revelations. This is one lightweight movie.

Still, My Wife is 18 is amiable enough stuff and has pretty people in spades. Those who like Ekin Cheng (and even those who usually don't) could get a kick out of his dopey character. He's still not much of an actor, but he can be a likable presence. And despite her overexposed Twins pedigree, Charlene Choi could be around HK Cinema for quite a while. My Wife is 18 isn't a great movie, but considering Hong Kong Cinema's recent lack of quality output, this amusing trifle is not without its charms. As pop cinema goes, you could certainly do worse. (Kozo 2002)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
Making Of, Deleted Scenes
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
image courtesy of Universe Film Production Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen