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LOOK FOR A STAR (Yau lung hei fung) (HK)

  Publicity Stills of "Look For A Star"
(Courtesy of Shaw)

Director: Andrew Lau
Cast: Andy Lau, Shu Qi, Denise Ho, Cheung Tat-Ming, Ella Koon, Maria Cordero, George Lam, Zhang Hanyu, Lam Ka Wah, Zhang Xinyi, David Chiang
RunTime: 1 hr 57 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG

Official Website: http://www.mediaasia.com/lfas/

Opening Day: 12 February 2009


It’s hardly a coincidence that Sam is considered the most eligible bachelor in town. Not only is he a young, smart and insightful entrepreneur with a coveted fortune, but he also happens to be a blithe spirit with a carefree attitude to life. However, every success has its price. Sam has already divorced three times and finds himself crawling back to the game of love sooner than he has expected.

It is love at first sight when Sam chances upon a feisty, fast-talking woman with the odd name of Milan at a Macau casino. But the catch is, she is a part-time poker dealer and a full-time cabaret dancer, “careers” not exactly congruent with his station in life. Fallen in love against all odds, the mismatched couple soon makes headline in all media which turn Milan into an It girl overnight.

While Milan is being groomed into a society woman by experts galore, Sam is starting to have cold feet. Suspecting that she might be after his wealth after all, he takes his lawyer’s advice and signs a pre-nuptial agreement, without consulting her. This time, he is gravely mistaken, as this woman he doubts actually has a heart of gold and is looking for true love rather than fame and fortune. When she is asked to sign the document, she is flabbergasted and leaves him.

Movie Review:

The Macau Tourist Promotion Board should take note of this movie. Their city, both in its rustic colonial charm and glitzy casino glamour, forms the backdrop of Andy Lau’s latest romantic comedy. And there’s no denying the beauty of the historical city.

Smartly, this movie borrows the appeal of the city, making it an enthralling experience best enjoyed as pure escapism. Indeed, how many of us can be like Sam (Andy Lau)- single, handsome, and most importantly, wealthy, in fact a casino tycoon no less. Loosely based on the life of Stanley Ho, the story is about Sam’s fourth attempt at looking for love, his previous three all ended in acrimonious divorces.

And it comes in the form of a blunt, even somewhat brusque part-time poker dealer and full-time cabaret dancer Milan (Shu Qi). The two meet in his casino but she only thinks of him as a compulsive gambler. It isn’t long before the pair fall in love. But as most of us will know about relationships, falling in love is usually the easiest part.

For Sam and Milan, it is their social standing that will be their biggest hurdle- he belongs to the high society and she’s just a simple girl trying to eke out a living for her family. But they are not alone. In fact their conundrum is shared by Sam’s chauffeur Sean (Dominic Lam) who is dating a divorced single mother (Zhang Xinyi) trying to raise her kid and Sam’s able secretary Jo (Denise Ho) in love with a simple and honest hotel worker Ah Gou (Zhang Hanyu).

Alas while the similarity in all three plots (and subplots) may seem repetitive, director Andrew Lau (better known for his Infernal Affairs trilogy) tackles them with much aplomb. Whether it is the tycoon Sam, the driver Sean or the secretary Jo, each story arc has its own unique charm and appeal that make the sum even more delightful than its parts.

That is also thanks to a witty and charming script by Theresa Tang and James Yuen. The veteran pair of writers manages almost effortlessly to create many inspired moments of fairytale romance between Andy Lau and Shu Qi (including one hilarious SMS exchange) sure to leave you grinning from ear to ear. They have also achieved a nice balance between the airy-fairy and the down-to-earth, courtesy of the two equally appealing subplots anchored by a strong ensemble cast.

Unfortunately, while the first half of the movie is a joy to watch, the writers seem unable to sustain the momentum for the slightly overlong 120-minute movie. Ostensibly losing some steam after the middle mark, it fails to build on the potential that the three almost separate stories possess. Instead, they bring each through all too similar twist and turns, right down to a pat too convenient ending.

Luckily, the attractive cast more than saves this movie. It’s been a while since Andy Lau played the suave gentleman and the youthful-looking actor brings his allure to the role of wealthy casino owner Sam. He also shares a nice chemistry with Shu Qi in their third collaboration and first romantic comedy together (though Shu Qi’s usual brand of cute will surely provoke its fair share of detractors).

When you’re looking for a star, you have to look through the clouds. And that’s where Look for a Star has its head in. It does not pretend to be some rumination on love; instead it is for the large part unpretentiously fluffy and lightweight stuff that is also enormously entertaining. Indeed, it is nothing less than pure escapism- but this, being timed for Valentine’s Day, is probably just the distraction you want.

Movie Rating:

(Look this way if you want just that something to put you in the mood for love)

Review by Gabriel Chong


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. Yesterday Once More (2004)

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