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Say Yes!

Say Yes!

Lin Chiling and Huang Bo do the romcom thing in Say Yes!

Chinese: 101次求婚  
Year: 2013  
Director: Leste Chen
Producer: Zhao Haicheng, Zhang Wenbo, Tina Shi, Hosokai Kosuke
Writer: Sarah Zhang, Endrix Ren, Nojima Shinji (original drama)
Cast: Lin Chi-Ling, Huang Bo, Qin Hailu, Godfrey Gao, Takeda Tetsuya, Cheng Yi, Wang Xun, Jiang Xiwen, Li Haibin, Zhao Bingrui, Liu Chunlong, Liu Shining, Chen Ran
The Skinny: Slick romcom has the goods to please its target audience, but closer inspection reveals enough holes to destroy any relationship, much less a single film. Like watching a beautifully-produced jewelry commercial starring Huang Bo.
by Kozo:

Youíll laugh, youíll cry, youíll scratch your head at how little sense it makes. Say Yes! reunites director Leste Chen and lead actress Lin Chiling from the OK romcom Love on Credit for yet another, perhaps slightly less-OK romcom. Based on the 1991 Japanese drama 101st Marriage Proposal (which was so popular that it was remade as television dramas in both China and Korea, in 2003 and 2006 respectively), Say Yes! offers Lin as an unlucky-in-love cellist and Huang Bo as her prospective mate. Yep, a man who has been described as homely and horse-faced is playing the onscreen love of the beautiful and statuesque Lin Chiling. Say Yes! is more than just a romance. Itís a romance-fantasy.

Itís also a romance-fantasy that audiences apparently like. A sizable hit in China, Say Yes! offers a simple and pleasing idea: that even the most unlikely man can win over an unattainable goddess with stalwart honesty, decency and loyalty. Average schlubs like 99% of us can get behind that premise, right? Anyway, itís hard to fault the choice of Huang Bo as the everyman since heís a terrific actor and clearly not a pretty boy. Huang plays construction worker Huang Da, a man whoís gone on scores of blind dates with an eye on marriage, and his success rate is a big, fat 0%. While on his 99th unsuccessful date, Huang Da accidentally meets Ye Xun (Lin Chiling), a super sweet and impossibly beautiful cellist on her own unsuccessful blind date.

Circumstances lead to more run-ins and the two become fast friends, thanks to Huang Daís immediate affection for Ye Xun, plus some helpful prodding from Ye Xunís pal Taozi (the scene-stealing Qin Hailu). But Ye Xun suffers from romantic paralysis; years ago, her fiancť Xu Zhou (handsome but empty Godfrey Gao) disappeared after getting in a car crash on the day of their wedding. Will Huang Da break through Ye Xunís frozen heart and persuade her to love an ugly guy? If youíve seen the original Japanese drama (or the filmís trailer), you should know the answer. It helps that Huang is so innately likable, which makes rooting for him easy. Lin is not as affable or approachable as her co-star, but she can do sweet and gorgeous in her sleep. The pieces are here for light, agreeable fluff.

The film has lots of WTF too. Contrivance is natural for commercial genres like romcoms, but Say Yes! is so obviously manufactured that it gets embarrassing. Temporally, the film makes no sense, with key events occurring simultaneously and people teleporting across town just to serve the script. Huang Daís love for Ye Xun is decently developed, but the reverse is not true. Events in the film occur in such an isolated cocoon that they never seem credible, and it takes scores of coincidences and incredibly drawn-out climaxes (not to mention handy flashbacks) for people to acknowledge what the audience and everyone else in the movie knew ages ago. Maximum melodrama is achieved by this totally bogus plotting, and it rings about as true as, well, the plot of any popular TV romantic drama.

Say Yes! is one of those films where nominal film criticism fails. Thanks to the extent of its pandering, knocking the film is ridiculously easy. And yet it succeeds in doing exactly what itís trying to do. The filmmakers closely follow the TV drama playbook, from the cheesy plot devices to the ridiculous conveniences to the sappy, on-the-nose music. Thereís even a cameo from Tetsuya Takeda, the star of the original Japanese drama, so fan service is in effect too. This is what the target audience wants, with the bonus of jazzed-up production values and TV commercial-like artifice to impress those who are easily impressed. Sunsets, lens flares, swooning camerawork, a sickeningly beautiful leading lady Ė if thatís the package youíre looking for, then Say Yes! has it all. If thatís not your package, then feel free to say no. Maybe you already have. (Kozo, 3/2013)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Kam & Ronson Enterprises Co., Ltd
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
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