Romantic Dream

This relatively obscure 1995 Cheung Man production starring a very unstylish (at times) Lau Ching-wan and a very sleek Cheung Man turned out to be a fairly amusing tongue in cheek romantic comedy. Though the action taking place on the screen often veers between farce and parody, the actors play it completely straight up which adds to the absurdity and humor of it all. The film takes turns poking fun at a number of subjects from Japanese soaps to male bonding films.

During his acting career, Lau Ching-wan has gone through a number of image changes and has looked very different from time to time whether it be his recent more elegant appearance, to his often rumpled everyman look, to the menacingly bald specter of The Longest Nite but rarely has he sported a style as unattractive and downright goofy looking as he does here. Its amazing what a hair-do (or hopefully in this case a wig) can do to make someone look better or in this case so much worse. This wig which appears to be pilfered from a French peasant leading some Marquis to the guillotine during the French Revolution  simply envelops him like an alien infestation. I suppose one should applaud an actor for being willing to look so ridiculous, but its hard for the viewer to concentrate on anything but Laus hairpiece. Fortunately, about one third of the way through the film he undergoes a style change.

In the meantime of course we do have Cheung Man to stare at. Ive always appreciated her cool icy distant beauty but I have never really warmed up to her as an actress. Her lively, long thick eyebrows that seemingly ride herd over her lovely cheekbones, deep set eyes and slightly cruel mouth are always worth keeping track of in a film but one never senses that she ever really gives herself to a role. She is an interesting and unusual female in the HK film scene. At one time she was Stephen Chows favorite leading lady until they had a falling out and apparently her curt manner has put off a number of other people as well. She is one of the few HK actresses that I can think of though that has attempted (without great success) to push her way into the nearly male preserve of producing and directing.
Lau Ching-wan and his friend Lawrence Cheng are garage mechanic slacker types but Lau has a hidden genius for engineering. All it takes is Cheung Man and a broken heart to bring it out. He accidentally meets her and is immediately smitten and tries to court her by growing a field of roses. Her wealthy parents though move away and Lau cant locate her. So he becomes amazingly rich by developing a new type of car engine, changes his hair style, buys some new suits and tries to track her down. When he does though, she is married to the very sleazy Michael Wong. Wong is clearly up to no good but it seems as if Lau perhaps will only be able to find love in dreams provided by a magician.
None of this sounds particularly funny I must admit but the film is constantly full of sight gags, parodies, pratfalls and so forth and the cast manages to keep a straight face throughout. This film is far from fall down funny but I found it consistently amusing and charming.
My rating for this film: 7.0


 DVD Information:

Distributor - Mei Ah

The transfer is fine and the colors are excellent. 

Letterbox

As far as additions go? Nada, zip, the big goose egg - Mei Ah doesn't even bother with a menu!

Subs - Burnt on English and Chinese

I had no problem in reading the subs