Everyday is Valentine


Fully expecting a bloated and smaltzy romantic tale due to the title, cast and cover photo, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the often comic and off beat tone of this film. At times it feels like it is headed into potential maudlin territory but then it pulls itself back with a lovely moment of ludicrous quirkiness. Then after watching it, I realized that this effort was directed, produced and written by Wong Jing – and I was just as surprised that the film hadn’t really wandered into the Wong Jing world of toilet humor and scantily clad women. Instead, it finds itself sort of straddling the stylistic worlds of Wong Jing and Jingle Ma – not really willing to let itself completely go – but also unable to maintain that smooth, glossy Jingle Ma feel with any seriousness. This apparent indecisive approach makes the film less than successful in some respects – and yet I quite enjoyed sections of the movie and found it reasonably entertaining overall.
There is something about this that reminded me of a Stephen Chow film - it has certain aspects of his brand of mou-lei-tau comedy buried within and I could easily have seen Chow playing the main male protagonist. Unfortunately, it was instead Leon Lai playing this character. Not that Leon is bad mind you – he is just Leon. I have seen a few comments opining that this is one of Leon’s best performances, but to me Leon’s acting is always the same – it is just the role that changes. In some instances his minimalist method of acting plays well while in other instances it looks awkward and out of place. Whether he is an Internet guru (Sausalito), a triad killer (A Hero Never Dies), a lonely immigrant (Comrades: Almost a Love Story) or a high-tech thief (Skyline Cruisers) he plays the character pretty much the same. Sometimes it works (Comrades, A Hero) sometimes it doesn’t (Sausalito, Skyline). Here his character – OK – is a smooth talking, glib, manipulative yuppie who is renown for his ability to lie. Chow could have eaten this role up, but though Leon looks a bit uncomfortable at times, he does bring a boyish, puppy charm that plays well and makes his character fairly likable.
He is the sort of guy who will lie on almost every occasion – and it makes him a perfect real estate salesman. He can lie quickly and imaginatively under any circumstances. So when his long time girlfriend, Kristy Yeung, gives him the heave-ho with his friends watching – he secretly picks up a slice of lime, squirts it in her eye and then writes out a check to pay her back for some money he borrowed. To his friends of course it appears as if he broke up with her, she is crying and he gave her a check as a break-up gift! Kind of sleazy, but you sort of wish you could think as fast as that.
He soon runs into Cecilia Cheung who is . . . well . . . Wonderful. Literally. This is her name (both Leon’s and hers are not English translations from Chinese – OK and Wonderful are really their names) and her character is in fact pretty damn close to wonderful. This is the most I have liked Cecilia since Fly Me to Polaris - her character is very sweet and innocent – so innocent that she has yet to biologically reach puberty! The fact that she is so wonderful is especially amazing if you consider her parents – Ng Man Tat (in a role that also recalled Stephen Chow) and Yuen King. The resemblance is not easily discernable! She has just discovered that her long time boyfriend has cheated on her and swears that she will never love a man who lies. She soon is swept off her feet of course by Leon – a professional liar. Romantic complications ensue.
One of these complications is the wealthy man-eating sexually ravenous Pinky Cheung who devours the screen as well as Leon. She makes Leon her little love toy to the point of total exhaustion on his part. Poor Leon, my heart is bleeding for him! Entering also into the fray are Hui Sui Hung (Leon’s boss), Lam Suet (the Mainlander), Cheung Tat Ming and Matt Chow (his friends), Moses Chan (Cecilia’s boss), Natalie Man-yan and Kitty Yuen (Cecilia’s friends) – and in cameos Eric Kot and Bak Ka-san.
The romantic angle of the film never really works – there isn’t that much chemistry between the two leads and the film often goes off into other tangents leaving the romance behind. But it is really these comical tangents that bring the most enjoyment and make the film more than just a corny romance – Leon lying, Leon always telling the truth, selling off Pinky’s undergarments as those of celebrities, a sudden disco dance in the middle of love making, mentally handing the sexual baton off to another of Pinky’s lovers, a triad’s knife stuck in a table. These moments of absurdity come from nowhere – other than the mind of Wong Jing – and surround the love story with enough comical antics to make you realize that you are not suppose to take it all very seriously.

My rating for this film: 6.0



DVD Information:

Distributed by Universe

The transfer is quite good for the most part - a bit dark on a few occasions.

Letterboxed

8 Chapters

Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks

There is a trailer for this film and for Hit Team, Lavender and Forever and Ever.

The subtitles are Chinese or English.

Star files on Leon Lai, Cecilia Cheung and Wong Jing

There is a Making of Section that lasts about 8 minutes but has no sub-titles. It is worth watching though for the slap Cecilia gives Leon and how much it cracks her up once she is out of camera range!