Far East Film Festival 20

Udine Italy April 20th/ April 28th 2018
The Film Festival For Popular Asian Cinema
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
Saturday, April 22, time 12.40 PM

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Love off the Cuff

Jimmy Cheung and Cherie Yu, the lovebirds audiences first met in Pang Ho-cheung’s breezy Love in a Puff back in 2010, return to screens for more unconventional romantic comedy in Love Off the Cuff. After a detour to mainland China and a major test of their relationship in Love in the Buff (2012), the third film in the series finds the pair back in Hong Kong and living together several years further into their relationship.
Viewers reconnect with Jimmy (Shawn Yue) and Cherie (Miriam Yeung) when a wild spot of storytelling segues into the pair getting nabbed for a lewd act. As the couple’s home life comes into focus, it’s clear that tensions are rising between them. He’s a slacker content to stock the flat with knickknacks and art pieces, but to her it’s a waste of money. And she’s confessing to her circle of friends that the sparks are gone and starting to question the relationship.

Challenges rise when Cherie spots suspicious-looking messages on Jimmy’s phone, and not helping things are the arrivals of her estranged dad (Paul Chun), whom she doesn’t want Jimmy to spend time with, and Jimmy’s old friend Flora (Jiang Mengjie), who moves in with them. When an attempt at healing through travel turns sour and Jimmy’s casual approach to marriage talk ruffles feathers even more, the couple that has endured so much starts to face a new level of crisis in the bumpy relationship saga.
Like Love in the Buff before it, Pang’s new instalment of Jimmy and Cherie’s story is a glossy affair geared for mass-market appeal. While part two brought in a strong mainland element as the pair moved north yet also continued the original film’s locally focused attractions like Cantonese wordplay, Love Off the Cuff brings things fully back to Hong Kong. For Pang’s hometown audience, the script delivers more highly local comedy, including lashings of Canto-slang, puns and vulgarity, while viewers further afield are thrown the oddball diversions characteristic of Pang’s storytelling to make for an altogether unique take on touching romantic comedy. (Those who missed the earlier films need not fret – each movie can work as a self-contained story.)

Employing a free-form approach to genre, Pang lets Love Off the Cuff move in all sorts of directions. The story opens, incongruously enough, with a folkloric monster movie scene, then veers into other peculiar and unexpected situations. Pop culture highlights like old animation are referenced for nostalgia seekers, and there’s song and sci-fi too. The arrival of Cherie’s dad sees Pang let rip with broad comedy as the sleazy old man drags Jimmy and his brother-in-law along to a sauna and more, while another aside drops scatological art into the picture.
Three films into Pang’s Love series, stars Miriam Yeung and Shawn Yue once more show terrific onscreen chemistry together. Whether playing it relaxed and intimate or facing emotional peaks and despair, the pair boost the sense of authenticity in their characters – a characteristic that appealed so much to fans of the first two movies. With performances like these, plus Pang’s entertainingly flexible approach to romance cinema, it’s not hard to see why the world of Jimmy and Cherie can keep bringing audiences back for more.

Tim Youngs
Film director: 
Pang Ho-cheung
Year: 
2017
Running time: 
119

Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Kls4JpIAag&index=4&list=PL5qowzmoQxh6RyMGtk4UkEVNT-pvgd_ED

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