DON'T GO BREAKING MY HEART - Prolonged Love Triangle
DON'T GO BREAKING MY HEART (romantic comedy)
Cast: Louis Koo, Daniel Wu, Gao Yuan-yuan, Lam Suet and Terence Yin
Directors: Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai
Screenplay: Jevons Au Man-Kit, Wai Ka-Fai and Yau Nai-Hoi
Time: 115 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: This rom-com was shown at the 35th Hong Kong International Film Festival recently and the big deal among the media was that the movie was in Mandarin instead of the usual Cantonese. An obvious attempt by the film-makers to penetrate the Mainland box-office. For viewers elsewhere, however, Don't Go Breaking My Heart will probably be a long-drawn, meet-cute and act-cute love triangle that stretches for almost two hours.
Thankfully, the movie somehow manages to maintain its charm (even if it looks contrived) throughout the proceedings - thanks to the chemistry of the three leads.
THE SKINNY: When the movie opens, we find Zixin (Gao Yuan-yuan) getting dumped by her boyfriend (Terence Yin) who is married. We can understand her subsequent caution with men, especially when she tries to recover from this heartbreak that makes getting rid of her past (those photos, gifts and even a pet frog) rather difficult. Helping her to turn over a new leaf is a street drunk named Fang (Daniel Wu) who is actually a disillusioned architect. Fang helps Zixin 'get rid' of her ex-beau's liquor collection and even take cares of her "ugly" pet frog, while she helps him get back to drawing.
Zixin is also attracted to Cheng (Louis Koo), an investment consultant who works in the building opposite her office. She watches him through the glass wall daily and they 'communicate' by sticking Post-It notes on their respective windows. Soon, Cheng, a playboy at heart, takes over the troubled company she works for - and starts wooing her in earnest. Will she forget Fang, the friend waiting in the wings, or will she keep a promised date with him? Ultimately, the big question is: who will she pick, Cheng or Fang?
HITS AND MISSES: It takes a long long time for Zixin to decide - and the title is rather apt. Having had her heart broken, Zixin is definitely going to break the heart of one of her suitors. We are kept guessing which one. This is the most demanding role yet for Gao Yuan-yuan and it is evident that she has what it takes to be the leading lady. She makes us root for Zixin throughout the movie, even if we find her indecisiveness irritating. Newcomer Larisa Bakurova (pic, left) provides eye-candy as a rival for Cheng's attention.
Koo and Wu are veterans in their role and they pull it off easily. However, Koo's Cheng seems rather implausible. The writers have gone overboard, having Cheng buy an apartment and a Maserati car as gifts for a girlfriend at a time when the economy (during the 2008 downturn) calls for prudence and accountability. Wu is the more pathetic of the two and his Fang even cooks! Chalk these up as the film-makers' attempts to wow the women in the audience.
THE LOWDOWN: Entertaining enough for a date movie.