Director: Pang Ho-Cheung
Cast: Miriam Yeung, Shawn Yue, Chueng Tat-Ming, Miao Felin, Chui Tien You, Roy Szeto, Jo Koo, Charmaine Fong, Sharon Luk, Vincent Kok
RunTime: 1 hr 43 min
Released By: Shaw
Rating: NC-16 (Frequent Smoking Scenes and some Sexual References)
Official Website: http://mediaasia.com/loveinapuff/
Opening Day: 22 April 2010
Since 2007, the Hong Kong Health Authority has implemented an anti-smoking law that bans smoking in all indoor areas. This pushes office smokers to take their cigarette breaks in the street. Smokers from neighboring buildings gradually bond and form a new community known as "Hot Pot Pack," as they would gather around a trash bin with an ashtray, sharing small talks with raunchy jokes like they are at a hot pot dinner.
Jimmy is a mild mannered advertising executive in his twenties. While smoking in an alley packed with booming loudmouth co-workers and sharing explicit gossips and horror stories, he befriends a misfit cosmetics salesgirl Cherie who also likes to light up. An awkward romance soon blossoms amidst the anxiety of their nicotine rush. As they become more attached to each other, they also find themselves moving farther away from their regular hot pot pack into their own private alley, where their conversations suggest more emotional depths, covering the collision of reality and delightfully trivial matters of the bizarre people around them.
Hong Kong Director Edmond Pang has always brought something
new and refreshing to his movies. Starting from You Shoot
I Shoot (a unlikely team up between a professional killer
and a director wannabe), branching into A.V. (a group of graduating
students scheming to make erotic movie with their Japanese
Adult Video idol) and the recent Exodus (a secret society
of female killers out to get rid of the male species), Edmond
Pang had always adopt a different perspective at everyday
events to create a novel cinematic story with his brand of
For Love in a Puff, he was reportedly inspired by his friend
who seems to know everyone in the office building. It turned
out that his friend told him that it was due to the restriction
in smoking in public and enclosed area, fellow smokers had
gather in their usual smoking area and gotten acquainted with
each other. It gave him the inspiration to make a love story
that blossom in such "hotspot" area and there's where Love
in a Puff got started from.
A cosmetic sales lady, Cherie (Miriam Yeung) and a young advertising
executive Jimmy (Shawn Yue) met at a designated smoking area
near their work place and love between them literally happened
in a puff. Told in a 7 days format, Love in a Puff detailed
how they met, how the unlikely romantic sparkled between them
and the uneasiness of venturing into a relationship.
The crux of enjoying this movie would depends if you could
embrace this quick romance between those two. If you accept
their whirlwind romance, you will find their love authentic
and believable. Personally, even though the actress and actor
performed well in their respective roles, the chemistry between
them felt somewhat lacking. Even though the cinematography
was flooding the viewers with romantic framing of these two
stars, the script didn't do well to make their romance convincing
enough to accept their sudden romance.
To make matters worse, Love in a Puff seemed like a film that
would have excel in it's original language. Director Edmond
Pang's strength had always seems to be crafting a film with
enjoyable Cantonese dialogues. Together with upcoming director/
scriptwriter Heiward Mak, it's been reported that the best
bits about Love in a Puff would be the funny foul Cantonese
conversations that happened over the smoking area. What we
got here was a subpar dubbing that felt tame and unfunny.
Especially the dubbing for Miriam Yeung's dialogues was made
with a high pitch ditzy voice which felt totally wrong for
a character who is supposed to be older than her new lover.
Sadly, Love in a Puff seems like one of the weakest entry
in Edmond Pang's resume. However, I must mention that some
of his movies (like Men suddenly in Black and Beyond Our Ken)
grows on you after repeated viewing at a leisurely pace and
in their original language. The 2 1/2 ratings for this movie
is based on a initial exposure to Love in a Puff and it's
dismal dubbing. It's been quite disappointing after a year
drought without any new movies from the Hong Kong director
to watch out for but well, at least there's a upcoming horror
movie Dream Home from him to look out for.
(Hazy love story made worse by the 'lost in translation'
Review by Richard Lim Jr