Sunday, May 27, 2018

How Long Will I Love U

Someone should option this for an American remake, but instead of casting white actors, set it in New York City's Chinatown (or, heck, Boston's) as it shrinks and faces encroaching gentrification. I'm not sure exactly how that script works, not the least because it's not the sort of thing an outsider can write, even if it can be written in such a way that's universal enough for an outsider to understand.

Chao shi kong tong ju (How Long Will I Love U)

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 26 May 2018 in AMC Boston Common #3 (first-run, DCP)

How Long WIll I Love U doesn't exactly waste a fun premise and a likable cast, but it's almost never as inspired in its follow-through as it is when introducing things. The opening act of the movie gives us a nifty main setting and a quick introduction to a potentially fun couple, but the rest of the movie seems dedicated to taking it for granted on the way to a finale where there's a lot of plot but it's also even fuzzier than that of most time travel stories.

The film starts by introducing Shanghai residents Gu Xiao-jiao (Tong Liya) and Lu Meng (Lei Jiayin). She's 31 and having a friend arrange blind dates with wealthy men, apparently ready to marry anyone who will buy her a house; he's 25 and works for a real estate firm which is not interested in his plan to build "lofts" in an area he predicts will by highly developed in a few years. It turns out that they not only live in the same building but the same apartment - him in 1999, her in 2018 - and one night (well, technically two nights, I suppose), some strange phenomenon causes the apartments to merge, giving them each not only an unwanted roommate but the chance to change their futures.

Having both Gu and Lu be in kind of rough financial situations and basically the same sort of neighborhood around them is one of the less interesting ways to use this premise - think of what could be done with gentrification, development, or a part of the city more in flux! - but director Xu Lun has a blast in the early going, from the animated credits to the set that literally smashes everything that has changed in twenty years together. There's a cool secret lab that hints at a fun sci-fi side of all this and effects bits that are clearly meant to steer the characters from the consequential to the amusing. It's not all silliness, but it seems loose and free-wheeling, like Xu is going to have fun with this.

Full review on EFC

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