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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.

Movie Review:

Maverick 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 black humour.

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.

Movie Rating:

(Hazy love story made worse by the 'lost in translation' dubbing)

Review by Richard Lim Jr


. Hot Summer Wars (2010)

. Hooked On You (2007)

. 2 Become 1 (2006)

. Drink, Drank, Drunk (2004)

. Exodus DVD (2006)


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