Director: Pang Ho-Cheung
Cast: Shawn Yue, Miriam Yeung, Jiang Mengjie, Wang Xiaochen, Toby Lee, Dada Chan, Susan Shaw, Derek Tsang, Paul Chun
Runtime: 2 hrs
Rating: NC16 (Sexual References and Coarse Language)
Released By: Clover Films and Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 4 May 2017
Synopsis: Shawn Yue and Miriam Yeung reprise their popular roles as Jimmy and Cherie in this third installment of the romantic comedy Love in a Puff. Back together since Love in the Buff, Jimmy and Cherie strive to stay together happily ever after. But the shocking news of Cherie’s philandering father marrying a girl younger than herself does not make things any easier for Cherie…
This reviewer was afraid this day would come – that he has to review Hong Kong writer director Pang Ho Cheung’s third installment of the Jimmy & Cherie film series (fans would affectionately know the characters’ Chinese names Zhi Ming and Chun Jiao). Seeing how his friends have settled on and moved on to the next stage of life (attending weddings, housewarmings and babies’ first month celebrations are getting a tad too reflective), this writer realises it is really time for him to figure out what he wants to do with life next.
Which, incidentally, is how Jimmy is probably feeling in this movie. Back in 2010, Pang made Love in a Puff and chronicled the love affair between Jimmy the advertising executive Jimmy and Cherie the cosmetics salesgirl Cherie. The two met at an outdoor smoking area and eventually fell in love (the critically acclaimed film is the filmmaker’s response to Hong Kong’s indoor smoking ban). Two years later in 2012, Pang explored the on off relationship between the couple with Love in the Buff. It was a happy ending as Jimmy and Cherie rekindled their love at the end of the movie.
And like how couples progress in real life, Pang concludes this contemporary romantic trilogy with a two hour movie which hilariously (albeit a little cruel at times) shows the differences between how a man and a woman look at love. Cherie, who has turned 40, is increasingly cautious about her womanhood. Jimmy, who is four years younger, is still very much a man child with his gadgets and short attention span. The two are sharing a comfortable cohabited flat, but where are they heading towards in life?
Pang injects a few supporting characters to beef up the otherwise unsurprising story. Cherie’s estranged father appears and announces that he is marrying a younger woman. Jimmy’s godmother, who happens to be a sexy young woman, appears and moves into their flat.
You know there are efforts to spice up the film. It opens with a horror story told by Cherie, there are plenty of celebrity cameos, and the overall production value is high. There are animated sequences, as well as impressively computer generated monsters and aliens. Miriam Yeung and Shawn Yue, who are reprising their roles as Cherie and Jimmy, have perfect chemistry. Susan Shaw, Paul Chun Dada Chan and Derek Tseng also deliver commendable performances. There are dirty jokes, laugh out loud gags and post credit scenes – Pang has to be credited for capturing the viewers’ attention. It is a shame that we are watching the Mandarin dubbed version here – the Cantonese word play can only be made out from the subtitles.
What is this film trying to say? Relationships are littered with self doubts and mistrusts? We will all move on and all the ideals we had in the past are nothing but wishful musings? Or as the title suggests (the literal translation is ‘Cherie saves Jimmy’), we will all be ‘saved’ by the commonalities of life? That, sadly, is what this columnist fears most, that while the rest of the world ‘grows up’, he is left to wonder where all those time went.
(A true to life story that is made much more attractive by Pang Ho Cheung’s innovative storytelling, as well as the good looking Miriam Yeung and Shawn Yue)
Review by John Li