Sunday, July 12, 2015

Forever Young (2015)

Last show before heading north to Montreal, kind of by accident - I meant to see it Friday night and then something else (probably Self/Less) on Saturday, but got held up late at work and then the Red Sox/Yankees game, as they are wont to do, went gloriously late. Lots of self-inflicted bad planning going into that, which doesn't even count the feeling like crap (which is probably self-inflicted as well, what with the staying up late, going to afternoon baseball without a hat, and generally not slowing down/bailing on work when my body says to take it down a peg.

Still, I was feeling good enough by this point to feel general aggravation toward the people taking their time in line ahead of me and clogging up the escalator rather than numb, and I responded to the film's charm as opposed to just finding it frustrating. That's got to count for something, even if I'm mostly going to view it as a warm-up for a few weeks of really good asian cinema.

Forever Young (2015)

* * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 10 July 2015 in AMC Boston Common #19 (first-run, DCP)

The plot of Forever Young could come straight out of a silly sitcom meant for young adults, although I suspect that this hypothetical Chinese Saved by the Bell: The College Years would probably go to far less drastic lengths to set it up. Oddly, though, it's not so much the light comedy spawned by terrible tragedy that messes this film up, but the things meant to fill it out into a more complete story.

It centers around Xu Nuo (Li Yifeng) and Yan Xi (Zhang Huiwen), boyfriend and girlfriend about to graduate college and perform in "dream night" just prior. Xu Nuo is a talented singer in a band with his three roommates, hoping to be noticed by a label, while Yan Xi and her roommates are ballet dancers with a goal of continuing their studies in Paris. Yan Xi doesn't react well to learning this may be beyond her friends' means, and not only does she not get a chance to apologize before a horrible auto accident, but she winds up in the hospital with a broken leg after pushing herself too hard in response. Seeing her heartbroken, Xu Nuo comes up with a crazy idea: What if he and his friends do the girls' number at the show in tribute? After all, these four guys who have never danced ballet before have a whole month to learn "Four Little Swans".

It's a silly, silly idea, but not really a bad one. The slapstick that's going to come out of it is obvious, sure, and works despite the audience knowing what's coming. The sentiment behind it is just as plain, but writer/director He Jiong sets thing up so that the audience can see the bonds between Xu Nuo, Yan Xi, and their groups of friends (though not individually paired off, the whole group hangs out together) so that it doesn't just feel like one person dragging the rest along with his silly plan. The goofy, inappropriate-seeming comedy mostly works.

Full review on EFC.

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