Love Is Elsewhere
EmptyHong Kong International Film Festival
HONG KONG -- Vincent Chui's "Love Is Elsewhere" is a hit-and-miss affair that has moments of unfussy charm, quickly followed by baffling and irritating lulls. The conventional narrative and production could well work to the film's advantage at home in Hong Kong, and may carry it (as well as the young, beautiful cast of Cantopop stars) in other parts of Asia. An overseas release seems like a long shot.
Set in and around Hong Kong's SoHo district, the ensemble film follows the faltering love lives of a group of friends/acquaintances. Joe (Pakho Chau) and Maggie (Charmaine Fong) end their romance at the beginning of the film, leaving him to pursue the mysterious Kelly (Chelsea Tong). Then there's Sandra (Yumiko Cheng) and her fiance, who seem to be getting along, but his focus on work leaves her feeling neglected until a swooning delivery boy, Sing (Ken Hung), comes into the picture. Lastly, Ching (Sherman Chung) and Sung (Jason Chan) are making plans to head to Beijing, but lingering insecurities swirling around her ex-boyfriend, Hung, complicate matters.
If this sounds like an extended episode of "Friends" combined with a Stephen Chow ensemble dramedy that's because it plays like it. The shifting focus and resulting shifts in tone make for frustrating viewing at times: it's bitter or sweet, but never nuanced enough to be bittersweet. The cast carries off their roles with enough panache to forgive some of the film's more cliched elements (fears of an age difference, perceived infidelity, dirty old foreign men). Less forgivable is the fact that almost every female character is scheming, whiny, vindictive or a combination of all three.
LOVE IS ELSEWHERE
A Buddy Film Creative Workshop, Mastermind Film Production Ltd., Entertainment International production
Sales: Universe Films Distribution Co.
Director: Vincent Chui
Writer: Cheung Fan
Producer: Ng King-hung
Executive producer: Ho Cheuk-yan
Director of photography: Charlie Lam
Production designer: Nelson Cheung
Music: Ronald Ng
Editor: Yau Chi-wai
Sing: Ken Hung
Ching: Sherman Chung
Joe: Pakho Chau
Sung: Jason Chan
Sandra: Yumiko Cheng
Maggie: Charmaine Fong
Kelly: Chelsea Tong
Running time -- 94 minutes
No MPAA rating