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Chinese language cinema

Film review: My Wife Is a Superstar - Annie Liu, Pakho Chau play couple undone by celebrity

Both leads give performances that go beyond their usual range in a satire that’s sometimes diverting but ultimately toothless. Entertainment veteran Shirley Yung, who directs, should know better

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 April, 2016, 5:54pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 April, 2016, 5:55pm

2/5 stars

After their lacklustre pairing in last year’s dreadful S for Sex, S for Secrets, Annie Liu Xin-you and Pakho Chau Pak-ho give their romantic comedy partnership another run in My Wife Is a Superstar, an intermittently diverting, yet unfortunately toothless showbiz satire that settles for a most shallow view of Hong Kong’s movie business.

Young married couple Lai Mo (Chau) and Chu Ki (Liu) – respectively fans of Magnum photographer Robert Capa and screen legend Audrey Hepburn – are going through a rough patch at work. While the aspiring photojournalist Lai is transferred from a daily paper’s news desk to the paparazzi section of its tabloid magazine, the movie extra Chu is humiliated on the set of a C-grade Rouge rip-off by its leading lady, the established actress Ching Yu (Jacky Cai Jie).

Everything changes when Chu catches the eye of young movie mogul Jeff (Alex Lam Tak-shun), who casts her as the lead of mega-budget Lunar New Year movie 2047, directed by an artistic type called Ka Wai – a lame parody of Wong Kar-wai’s 2046. By chance, Lai is assigned to expose Chu’s marital status, just as Jeff begins to aggressively hit on her. How will the couple hide their relationship – which breaches her contractual terms with the film company of no dating and no scandals – amid her newfound celebrity?

Liu and Chau both give commendable performances that are slightly outside their usual range: Liu is endearingly sassy as a career extra taking her big, fat chance with both hands, and Chau’s unshaven look makes him surprisingly convincing as a slob of a husband. Lam, as the third leg, more than breaks the spell of this love triangle with his oddly wooden line reading. Although the film boasts several celebrity cameos, few of them make anything of their walk-on parts.

Ironically, My Wife Is a Superstar marks the solo directing debut of industry veteran Shirley Yung Sau-lan, who co-directed the abysmal horror Angel Whispers with Carrie Ng Ka-lai last year and has produced her fair share of local films over the years, including S for Sex, S for Secrets. Yung should really have shown far more insight into the business than the clichés she is parading here, from hackneyed backstage dynamics to utterly unimaginative send-ups of a select few Hong Kong films.

My Wife Is a Superstar opens on April 21

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