Tries too hard to entertain

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 April, 2011, 12:00am


Director Feng Xiaogang's sequel to his 2008 hit If You Are the One falls a little flat with its empty dialogue and lifeless brand of wry humour.

Xiaoxiao (Shu Qi) and Qinfen (Ge You) enter a trial marriage to test their compatibility before plunging into the real deal.

Meanwhile their best friends, Xiangshan (Sun Honglei) and Mango (Yao Chen), have just divorced. Oddly enough, they are the ones that serve as Xiaoxiao and Qinfen's confidantes, providing relationship advice to the newly 'married' couple.

Xiangshan, an entrepreneur, finds out his days are numbered due to a skin cancer on his foot, and begins to contemplate his past follies. His predicament begins to influence Xiaoxiao and Qinfen's outlook on marriage.

The deeper issues of pragmatism in love are only dealt with on the surface. Ironically, the most interesting parts of the film are when the spotlight is not on Xiaoxiao and Qinfen.

The final 'farewell ceremony' provides enough contrast to the opening 'divorce ceremony' to contextualize the event. It's bizarre, but works in the context of a film that evokes every emotion imaginable.

This is one of the more dialogue-heavy films out there. Even with Ge You and his iconic Beijing accent, deadpan sarcasm, and philosophical musings, a lot of the humour gets lost in translation. You almost get the sense that there's a slight yet deliberate pause after some the punchlines in order to give the audience time to catch up.