from an incredibly young age, DMH has only ever known a celebrity
pop star existence. Yet, despite all the glamour, there is
still something lacking in his charmed life: true love. With
the help of fellow musician and friend WZB, DMH disguised
himself as a regular Joe in hope to find true love. While
incognito, DMH and WZB stumble across the performance of a
classical Chinese orchestra and DMH is immediately captivated
by the melodies of the guzheng soloist, SXQ, a student at
the Shanghai Conservatory, whose affections lie with the accomplished,
if not arrogant virtuoso, ZXZ. In his attempt to spend more
time with LQM, DMH promises to help LQM get together with
ZXZ. As DMH and SXQ grow closer, it becomes increasingly difficult
to conceal his identity...
Whatever possessed Wang Lee Hom to make this movie befuddles me. I’m not a fan of the Taiwanese singer, but I have heard enough of his music to know that he’s not a flash in the pan. The guy actually has talent, which probably explains why he has survived this long in the fickle music industry. But that same wisdom which has kept him going all these years appears to have deluded him, because there is no comprehensible reason why he would go on to make such an awful piece of work.
Bragging rights perhaps- since Jay Chou did receive praise for a similar writing and directing debut three years ago. Yes, I’m talking about “Secret”, which is Academy-Award winning material compared to what Wang Lee Hom has done for his writing/directing debut here in “Love in Disguise”. Despite having the liberties to do what’s best for him, Wang has botched this movie up terribly in more ways than one.
Like Jay, Wang has decided to play leading man here- albeit in a role that really doesn’t stretch his acting abilities one bit. He plays a popular Chinese singer DMH, who runs into an ordinary plain Jane one day and suddenly decides that he’s found love. So he dons a nerdy get-up, enrols in the music school she’s studying and then proceeds to win her love. Wang Lee Hom playing a Chinese singer DMH who is exactly as popular as he is in real life? So much for originality- he might as well have named the character after himself.
Not only isn’t he much of an actor here, he isn’t much of a writer too. He tries to make this movie a romantic comedy- but my gosh, the man’s sense of humour is downright unfunny. His jokes consist mainly of him or his buddy acting goofy- there is funny and there is lame and I am sad to say that most, if not all, his attempts at hilarity fall into the latter category. Probably the only creative spark in the entire movie is how he pokes fun at his frustration with the paparazzi and his patience at having to put on a smile even if he really feels like bashing them up. Too bad really- fame has its costs, and if you want to bask in the glory, you just have to put up with the concomitant inconveniences.
Pacing too is a terrible problem in this movie. Look, we all know and expect a happily ever after ending- is it too much to ask for a breezier, snappier pace to an otherwise expected conclusion? Wang shows all too plainly how much of a novice he is as a director, and the film drags for an eternity especially for scenes that could very well have done with some brutal snipping. Even at slightly more than an hour and a half, the movie feels way too long.
So here’s a piece of advice for the singer-turned-actor/writer/director, stick to your day job as a singer. You’re not going to win any new fans with this interminable bore of a film, and neither will you have many more friends (e.g. Joan Chen ) that you can call on to act in your future films. They will stay away- as will your audiences. “Love in Disguise” belongs to the junk heap and easily goes down as one of the worst films of the year.
There’s a “Behind the Scenes” feature which is as inconsequential as the movie itself, as well as the movie’s theatrical trailer and photo gallery.
The film is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 but the dialogue is often poorly separated from the rest of the soundtrack. Visuals deserve much more sharpening.
Review by Gabriel Chong
Posted on 28 October 2010