MY SASSY HUBBY (我老公唔生性) DVD (2012)

SYNOPSIS: Ten years ago, Cheung Sub Sam (Ekin Cheng) and Yo Yo Ma (Charlene Choi) got married to fulfill a promise by their parents, only to fall in love with each other for real regardless of their huge age gap in "My Wife Is 18". Now, Sam is experiencing midlife crisis while Yo Yo begins to think that her husband is dull, not aggressive enough, and lacks planning. Similarly, Yo Yo's wilfulness and shopping habit is deemed as immature by Sam. In a twist of events, the couple finds that the priest who certified their marriage is not recognized officially, rendering their marriage invalid. Working as a University lecture in Psychology, Sam meets a new student from Beijing, Tong Yi (Zhang Xinyi), and subsequently falls for her sweet and intelligent personality. On the other side, Yoyo's life became more boring and aimless, that is, until she runs into her old schoolmate, Lam Shu Ho (Izz Tsui), who has admired her since childhood. But Yo Yo and Sam should find that they long for the past…


Ten years after the modest hit ‘My Wife is 18’, Ekin Cheng and Charlene Choi reunite with co-writer/ director James Yuen for this mildly amusing but ultimately forgettable sequel. To be sure, we’re not sure what prompted Yuen to mount a retread of his previous film – after all, he would be much better off penning more original and inspired material like ‘Lost in Time’ and ‘My Name is Fame’ – and yet if there’s anything that this unnecessary sequel proves, it is that things don’t always get better the second time round.

Respecting the time since its predecessor, Ekin Cheng’s university lecturer Thirteen Cheung and Charlene Choi’s clothing boutique owner Yoyo Ma have been married for ten years – though the years since their marriage have not changed either of them much, except for the fact that what seemed adorable in the past has gradually grown irritating and even annoying. Instead of loving exchanges, Thirteen and Yoyo are constantly on each other’s nerves, and so when Thirteen learns that Yoyo has been hiding the fact for some time that the priest which married them back in 2002 was unlicensed, he decides to take the opportunity to call for a re-assessment of their ‘marriage’.

As formula calls for it, it is precisely in their lowest moment that both Thirteen and Yoyo will be tempted by other potential suitors. Thirteen’s happens to be one of his students, Maggie (Zhang Xinyi), a part-time model and part-time cook who is much more mature and independent than Yoyo ever was; while Yoyo’s turns out to be her childhood friend Potato (Jeremy Xu), whom she had made a silly promise when she was still a kid to marry just before he left for overseas. Is there any doubt Thirteen and Yoyo will eventually reconcile? Not a chance. This is as feel-good as it can get, so don’t go expecting some sort of revelation at the end.

Rather, what happens in between are a series of situational gags, some humorous while it lasts and others which simply fall flat. The best moments come courtesy of the film’s co-stars, Joyce Cheng and Wong Cho-Lam. The former plays Yoyo’s cousin and a scene where she and Yoyo crash Maggie’s home-cooked dinner for Thirteen is as funny as it gets. On the other hand, Cho-Lam plays against type as their dour-faced neighbour who gets away with being bossy and brusque with his wife. In fact, both Joyce and Cho-Lam outshine Xinyi and Potato, lending the somewhat middling proceedings some much-needed comic energy.

The same can be said of Ekin and Charlene, whose reunion here lacks the spark that made the original more delightful. Without the context of the first film, you’ll probably be thinking that the two are better off apart than together, ironically as a result of the two bickering too successfully with each other. There’s little here other than sheer narrative contrivance to suggest why Thirteen and Yoyo are right for each other, and when that happily-ever-after rolls along, you won’t quite feel the same measure of visceral happiness for their characters as you would at the end of the first movie.

If anything, this sequel recalls the romantic comedies of the 1990s which were a dime-a-dozen from the Hong Kong cinema industry. Shallow, predictable, with some good bits scattered here and there, these movies were usually good only for ‘star-gazers’ – and indeed, ‘My Sassy Hubby’ is good only for seeing two born and bred Hong Kong actors/ actresses together on screen. One wishes that there would be more justification for making a sequel ten years after the original, but sadly we can say this offers little gratification. 


Besides the Trailer and Photo Gallery, there's a Making-Of featurette which shows the stars having fun getting together a decade after the original.


Thankfully, this DVD comes in both the film's original Cantonese and dubbed Mandarin audio track - no prices for guessing which we recommend to get the best out of the movie's topical jokes. Visuals are clear and sharp. 



Review by Gabriel Chong