When I Fall in Love . .
Reviewed by YTSL
Maybe it's a female thang. Whatever the
(personal) reason, although this Samson Chiu directorial effort may not
have the highest quality plot premise, this (re)viewer has to admit to
being rather intrigued when she first read about it a few months ago.
As one of its character states early on in the film: "A man with
two loves is romantic. But for a woman, she's loose. What discrimination."
Taking this to be a not unrealistic yet wry observation, the not too usual
subject of three women swithering between two loves -- who returned their
affection, irregardless of their knowing whether theirs were exclusive
relationships -- seemed suitable for providing interesting material for
either a rich drama or an entertaining comedy. This especially when
coupled with the assertion that: "This is a hard life. Women
are forced to lead."
WHEN I FALL IN LOVE...WITH BOTH has the added
attraction of taking place in three different locales: Singapore
(whose particular beauty is unfortunately not captured here), Hong Kong
(where Victoria Park is unusually highlighted), and the extremely picturesque
Macao. As if this was not novel enough, there is a further twist
in the movie's female protagonists -- at least one of whom I found to be
less womanly than extremely girlish (Rather ironically, Theresa Lee's character
is the only married one of the trio whose other members are played by Fann
Wong and Michelle Reis) -- meeting and sharing confidences in an internet
chatroom called the Cheating & Loving Club. Upon learning that
Derek Yee (the man behind "C'est la Vie, Mon Cheri" and "Viva Erotica")
was the film's producer, and Catherine Hun (whose name is attached to "The
Heroic Trio" as well as "Viva Erotica") its associate producer, imagine
how much more promising this project sounded like it would be.
After spending some ten minutes or so with WHEN
I FALL IN LOVE...WITH BOTH's first couple though, I found myself loudly
bemoaning having made this movie one of my rental choices of the week.
While Fann Wong's Singaporean TV reporter might have been tolerable on
her own, the manic-depressive cutesiness she displays when in the company
of the awkward, quivering-lipped baker lad essayed by Peter Ho was almost
too much for me to bear (and made one wonder how she could possibly attract
two, forget one, ardent admirers). And then there were this episode's
sick-making -- for this non-romantic -- material accoutrements: I
mean, bright yellow smiley faced stickers I can stand...but flaky Smiley,
gooey Love, hard Heartbreak and soft Safe Pregnancy BUNS (too)???
Worse -- and greater disbelief -- was to come
upon the entering into the picture of Theresa Lee (Hsu Chi's only strong
competitor in the immaturity stakes?) and twin pretty boys, James and Sean
Chan. For more reasons than I can bear to discuss, their Hong Kong-based
story, of someone I have great difficulty believing has reached the age
of maturity being torn between a good-looking cop and equally pretty-faced
doctor (whose psychic -- as well as biological -- bonds recall that of
Jackie Chan's "Twin Dragons" characters), is that which I found the lamest
of WHEN I FALL IN LOVE...WITH BOTH's three.
It thus was with immense relief that I witnessed
the passing of the metaphorical baton on to Michelle Reis, Alex Fong and
David Wu (three individuals who have provided proof in the past that they
can act as well as look appealing). Unfortunately, the largely Macanese
bridal shop based portion of the show that they -- and Law Kar Ying --
were given to enact was not attractive enough to make them look good in
more than physical ways here, let alone save the entire film. Consequently,
as if it's not already painfully obvious, there is no conclusion to reach
other than that: Even while WHEN I FALL IN LOVE...WITH BOTH may not
be a horribly bad offering, that whose makers ultimately appeared to be
in two minds as to what they want it to be nonetheless served up one of
the most charmless and disappointing -- as well as insubstantial -- of
Hong Kong movie viewing experiences that I've had thus far.
My rating for the film: 3.5