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  Publicity Stills of "Happy Birthday"
Courtesy of Shaw

Genre: Drama/Romance
Director: Jingle Ma
Starring: Louis Koo, Rene Liu
RunTime: 1 hr 44 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG
Official website: http://www.happybirthdaymovie.hk

Opening Day: 25 Jan 2007


Happy Birthday is based on Rene Liu’s latest short novel, I Want To Go With You, about a decade-long love story that persists through sending and receiving birthday cards.

Rene says that the story is fictional and her career mentor Sylvia Chang edited the story for the screenplay.

Happy Birthday will also mark Rene’s first collaboration with Hong Kong star Louis Koo. Hong Kong acclaimed director, Jingle Ma will be helming the production

Movie Review:

Happy Birthday is the type of film with all the potential to be next classic romantic movie from Asia but somehow blew away all the chances at the end product. Here are some of the elements of the film that didn’t sit well with the reviewer.

First of all, it got to be Mimi’s character played by Rene Liu. It’s hard to empathize with her character for the eventual fate in store for her that was hinted in the trailer. On one hand, it’s easy to understand Mimi’s insecurities with relationship but after seeing how she sabotaged what could have been perfect relationship over and over again, this unsympathetic reviewer felt like giving her two tight slaps and tell her to stop it before it’s too late. It might sound cold and heartless to some readers but I felt that she deserved all that she was getting at the end.

Louis Koo who was remarkable in Election 2 didn’t really have much to shine on in terms of acting in Happy Birthday. This good looking hunk had no problem convincing that he is the affection of many girls from school days or able to skip from relationship to relationship effortlessly but the way the film was structured, there weren’t much opportunity to push Louis Koo in presenting the dilemma his character has with the one true love of his life.

The milestones events between these two couple were quite mundane and were firing at all angles; instead of focusing on the essential love story between these two. The pacing and editing gave viewers very little chance to grow or emote with the characters before jumping into a seemly different scene or timetime.

The worst part has to be the lack of closure at the end. It’s not that this film is without a climatic revelation, it's just that how this revelation might have affected the principal characters were eventually not explored at all. Leaving one to wonder if all the events in this movie were all for naught and basically leaving the message that ignorance is bliss.

Movie Rating:

(Happy Birthday had the potential but ended as a misguided effort)

Review by Richard Lim Jr


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