Fri, Mar 06, 2009 - Page 16 News List

All about love

With four first-time directors at the helm, ‘L-O-V-E’ calls on a bevy of stars and pop idols to sell amour

By Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

VIEW THIS PAGE Determined to look after his girlfriend if he dies on the operating table, the terminally ill Van Fan (范逸臣) searches for a man who has exactly the same voice as he has to take his place.

Blue Lan (藍正龍), a reticent music video director, re-encounters old flame Annie Liu (劉心悠) and realizes a car accident has erased her memories of their love.

Movie stuntman Ethan Ruan (阮經天) dashes out the door after a lover’s spat with his flight attendant girlfriend, Alice Tzeng (曾愷玹).

Plain homebody Tracy Chou (周采詩) turns to a fortune-teller for love advice, who tells her she’ll meet six guys sporting bangs with the last being Mr Right.

The four love stories that form L-O-V-E (愛到底) are directed by four celebrities turned first-time film directors.

With homegrown stars making cameos and guest appearances, the film is an entertaining hodgepodge of comedy and romance, glossed up with A-lister charm and a blitz of publicity. But the filmmaking delivered by some of its creators barely passes muster and hinders the wannabe blockbuster from living up to its star-studded ambitions.

Jiu Ba-dao (九把刀), also known as Giddens, a best-selling blogger, writer and cultural pundit, applies his talent in literature to filmmaking in his story about a young man’s dying wish to look after the woman he loves long after he’s gone. The narrative glides smoothly and turns from the fun, loving moments between the lovers to a more melancholy tone, though the film could use some trimming to tighten things up a bit.

Both Fan and Megan Lai (賴雅妍), who plays the girlfriend, are well cast as the young couple and turn in naturalistic performances that help make the opening scene in which the two frolic with toy lightsabers look cute.

FILM NOTES

L-O-V-E (愛到底)

DIRECTED BY: JIU BA DAO (九把刀) , VINCENT WEN-SHAN FANG (方文山), CHEN YI-XIAN (陳奕先),MICKEY ZI-JIAO HUANG (黃子佼)

STARRING: VAN FAN (范逸臣) A-CHENG, BLUE LAN (藍正龍)AS BLUE, ANNIE LIU (劉心悠) AS ANNIE, ETHAN RUAN (阮經天)AS TITIAN, ALICE TZENG (曾愷玹)

AS KAI

LANGUAGE: IN MANDARIN WITH CHINESE AND ENGLISH SUBTITLES

RUNNING TIME: 92 MINUTES

TAIWAN RELEASE: TODAY


In terms of technique, music video director Chen Yi-xian’s (陳奕先) tale about the stuntman and flight attendant is the most professional looking of the four. Pop idols Ruan and Tzeng are on top form, appearance-wise. The former has matured into a charismatic soup opera actor and young heartthrob. Chen presents his thin subject matter, lovers’ bickering and reconciliation, in images that are pleasing to look at, but which lack narrative punches.

The segment about an awkward girl’s search for Mr Right feels more like a variety show than a film. Aiming for goofy humor and exaggerated hilarity, veteran entertainer Mickey Zi-jiao Huang (黃子佼) calls on a legion of showbiz luminaries to make surprise guest appearances that raise the level of entertainment and fun. The lineup includes “godmother of television” Chang Hsiao-yen (張小燕), former idol and actor Alec Su (蘇有朋), Ken Chu (朱孝天) of F4, boy group Lollipop (棒棒堂), established actress Lu Yi-ching (陸弈靜) and Makiyo, who are possibly the hottest gas pump girls on screen to date.

But as the exaggerated humor repeats and becomes overused, the picture grows tedious and feeble toward the end.

Vincent Wen-shan Fang (方文山) is the weakest link in the quartet. His story isn’t engaging, while actors Lan and Liu struggle embarrassingly with the lead characters, which they portray as dreadfully lifeless. VIEW THIS PAGE

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