Feb 11, 2010|
(Hong Kong) “Hot Summer Days” has got its timing all wrong. As the title suggests, the film is set during an unusually hot summer (a rather fictional 48 degrees)—so why the hell do you open the movie in February? This ensemble film is basically a Hong Kong-style “Valentine’s Day”(the other ensemble romantic comedy of the moment), and it too is all about love, featuring a star-studded cast. So we ask again: why open the film now, just after the Valentine’s Day/Chinese New Year weekend? They kinda missed the love boat on that one.
The idea of “Hot Summer Days” is to explore how love always seems to blossom whenever the weather gets hot. There are a lot of heat-related triggers to these romantic tales. Jacky Cheung stars as a single father who begins an SMS romance with a masseur in Shenzhen (Liu) who has no air-conditioner. Nicholas Tse is an air-conditioner repairman who meets a mysterious biker chick (Barbie Hsu) after she tears off her clothes to take a kind of quasi-skinny dip on a hot summer’s night. An innocent toy factory worker in China (Angelababy) dares a bold admirer (Jing Boran) to stand under the sun for 100 days in exchange for her love. Daniel Wu is a sushi chef who rejects a writer’s love (Vivian Hsu)—OK, this one has nothing to do with hot summers really. But at the end of the day, most of these tales are happy but clichéd, though there are little details here and there that touch your heart. The acting is consistent, everyone is pretty and, well, it’s just what you expect from a feel-good film.
But I’ll tell you why the film is really enjoyable: Angelababy. Now I might sound like an old pervert here but if it were not for this young local model and her impressive performance, “Hot Summer Days” would have been just another feel-good romantic comedy that falls squarely into the “will-probably-go-see-anyway-and-even-enjoy-it-but-it-made-no-impression-whatsoever” category.
Angelababy has shed her faux-Japanese heavy makeup and shows her bare face to portray her factory-worker character. Almost always stunning whenever she appears on the screen, her acting is surprisingly natural despite the fact that this is only her second major film role. She captures the sadness of puppy love perfectly. I found myself wanting to see more of this tale and my eyes were glued to the screen whenever Angelababy showed up. Call me a pervert for love, but I think she’s well worth that ticket.