The Attractive One (2004) / Comedy-Romance
aka Sun Giu Yu Gwai
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but probably PG for thematic elements
Running Time: 92 min.
Cast: Joey Yung, Lau Ching Wan, Spirit Blue, Chapman To, Li Fung, Cheng Hei-Yi, Charlene Choi
Director: Matt Chow
Screenplay: Matt Chow, Lau Ho Leung
Review published February 8, 2007
The Attractive One could easily be considered a terribly bad romantic comedy, but somehow manages to keep from sinking to the bottom of the genre barrel by throwing in enough oddball moments to almost win you over. It's almost embarrassing just how deep in the bag of tricks writer-director Matt Chow (Itchy Heart, Let's Sing Along) is willing to reach in order to contrive a new twist in the story to keep things going. By the time you see Lau Ching Wan (Lost in Time, Running Out of Time 2) sport some love shoes in order to run in the air to (hopefully) catch up to the one he loves, you almost can't help but admire the chutzpah at how random things have proceeded up to that point, no matter how derivative the nature of the juvenile romance underneath. Napkin sniffing hounds, female moustaches, love taxis, Mona Lisa spoofs, and more fill up the zany antics to make this one truly bizarre chick flick. This one's so bad it's almost good.
Joey Yung (My Schoolmate the Barbarian, Rice Rhapsody) plays Yammie, a dog groomer unlucky in love who becomes re-infatuated with a schoolyard crush she once had with current doctor, Tim (Spirit Blue, Men Suddenly in Black). With some help from nearby restaurateur Hugo, the two decide to merge their talents into a dog sitting/BBQ food joint for people to leave their pets while they enjoy something to eat. The business is a smashing success, but Yammie still can't stop thinking about Tim, so with the help of Hugo, she musters the courage to tell him her feelings, only to find he already has a girlfriend. Yammie's crushed but now Hugo has developed a fondness for her, but her reticence to return the feelings causes a conflict in their friendship, and possibly their business venture.
The cast appears game, and there is certainly a great deal of energy to the project, but try as I might to like it, the bad stuff still outweighs the good. The randomness can just as easily be attributed to desperation than it can inspiration, and with a love story this shallow and contrived, it wouldn't be a stretch to think it was more a result of the former. Like many films meant to appeal to fans of the Hong Kong pop music scene, the mood is always light, with lots of songs on the soundtrack, and a color scheme every bit as bubblegum as the story contained within.
Cute almost to the point of being sickening, The Attractive One will probably only really please those who like their romantic comedies as sugar-coated as possible. Without any real laughs or genuine feelings of romance, it would be disingenuous to call this a successful romantic comedy, wouldn't it?
©2005 Vince Leo