Lung is a property agent in Hong Kong, and that’s a tough row to hoe. The competition is cutthroat, the pay is lousy, the hours are long and the clients are horrible people.
“Just like you, Spleen!”
Like most Hong Kongers, Lung wants to be rich. But not just for his own sake. He wants to have enough money to buy a flat that meets his girlfriend’s requirements.
She’s flight attendant, played by Myolie Wu. Big flat or no marriage.
In other words, she’s a size queen.
Sammi Cheng plays a recently divorced woman who has yet to accept her situation.
She wants to tread real estate water until she can win her husband back.
Angelababy plays Hak, Lung’s stepdaughter. She has a flat, but she doesn’t like it. It’s in Sheung Shui, the northernmost part of Hong Kong and the last stop on the MTR before China.
As a result, it is pretty much China, considering how many new immigrants, smugglers and other Mandarin-speaking people are there.
Speaking of Mandarin speakers, Oho Ou plays Very Wong, Lung’s intern. He’s a rich kid whose father comes from that place north of Sheung Shui. He drives a McClaren his dad paid for but wants to make his own way in the world.
Without giving away too much of the plot, these four people end up living together and learning to live with each other.
Temporary Family/失戀急讓 is a light romantic comedy with some localized references that offers no real surprises outside of the normal generic boundaries.
It’s weird and silly and flawed, but a lot of fun and pretty local. And even within generic boundaries it does have some things to recommend it. A number of the jokes were quite funny. At least two of them shocked me just by virtue of their being there. I didn’t think the movie, or the actors, would make those jokes.
The lampooning of local people and local culture are also entertaining.
I really enjoyed seeing Angelababy made to play ugly for the whole film.
It really does let you see what a difference makeup can have on a person’s appearance.
I also really appreciated that she never has the swan moment; she remains the ugly duckling and never does the Cinderella.
Nick Cheung delivers another strong performance, managing at times to transcend his stardom and become the character.
Sammi Cheng achieves an even more startling transformation.
She spends the first half of the film simply recycling her well-worn character of the jilted, whiny and slightly weird woman we’ve seen her play a dozen times before.
And just about the time I’d gotten really tired of it, she suddenly delivers a monologue that shows the kind of acting she’s capable of.
Jacky Cheung shows how to make the most out of a cameo, making a very brief role very memorable.
The same can’t really be said of Ivana Wong’s cameo, but there’s no real shame in not being able to play a two-faced, shallow b*tch convincingly.
But there are things about Temporary Family/失戀急讓 I didn’t like either.
Anyone with a brain knows that Nick Cheung and Sammi Cheng are going to end up together. But it seems like no one told them.
They have no chemistry, and it really slows the film down.
But then again, that’s the director’s job, isn’t it?
Director Vincci Cheuk gave us 2013’s Kick Ass Girls, a story that is either a postmodern, self-aware farce or the most frightening cinematic delusion ever created. The director had a small role in that film, and makes not one but two cameos in Temporary Family/失戀急讓. Someday I hope I can be that important.
Local politician Regina Ip has a cameo, and while it’s always nice to see politicians not taking themselves seriously,
these are pretty serious political times here in Hong Kong.
I didn’t enjoy seeing local leaders reduced to self-parody, much less one of them being a willing participant in it. My disappointment with that is compounded by a plot device that can best be described as Deus Ex PRC. Hey, we’ve all gotta make a living, right? And getting rich is glorious.
I’ll tell you what’s not glorious. The worst cover of “A Whiter Shade of Pale” in human history. It was horrendous.
But luckily for me, and for us, Temporary Family/失戀急讓 isn’t. It’s a fun movie, and as a disposable comedy it’s a nice diversion.
And you get to play Where is Jane Wong!