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七年很癢 (2004)
Itchy Heart

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: AV1979
Date: 09/26/2008
Summary: A Comedic Look at Marriage

Matt Chow directed a funny tale that can be depicted at what marriage life can be like in Hong Kong. Lau Ching-Wan pulls off an funny performance as Poon Chi-Man, a lowly man whose 7-year marriage seems to be taking its course when his wife (Coco Chiang) leaves for a vacation to Tokyo. He decides it's time for him to have some fun.

Going to a nightclub, he meets the eccentric Cherry (Cherrie Ying) but also runs into an old flame Bing (Carina Lau), who is seeing her physical trainer Wil (Andy On, in a rare comedic performance). Of course, a love rectangle is imminent and as a result, chaos ensues, but things come to full speed when Poon learns his wife actually went to Tokyo to have an affair.

In a welcome reunion from LA BRASSIERE and MIGHTY BABY, Carina Lau and Lau Ching-Wan show the chemistry that made the previous films popular (even though Carina only had a cameo in the second film). Cherrie Ying brings her eccentricism to the role of the young woman who gets Poon's attention and while many have bashed Andy On's acting, he actually didn't do a bad job here. His spoofing of John Travolta from Grease is pretty funny to see.

There are some pretty good cameos from Lawrence Chou and Hiro Hayama (Hayama Go). All in all, Matt Chow did a wonderful job with this film.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 06/20/2006
Summary: stylish, beautifully realized.

This stylish romantic comedy is almost too good. Lau Ching-Wan is his usual lovable self, playing a married guy who is restless in his marriage. Loosely based on the Hollywood classic The Seven-Year Itch, the screenplay by director Matt Chow Hoi-Kwong is beautifully realized by co-producers Joe Ma Wai-Ho and Ivy Kong Yuk-Yee.

Joining Lau with a couple of very pleasant performances are the beautiful Carina Lau Ka-Ling and the exciting Cherrie Ying Choi-Yi. If I have to say something negative about the film [and I don’t have to, you know?], I’d say that there is too much Andy On Chi-Kit. It’s a tribute to the strength of the material that even he made me laugh, and not in the wrong places, either!

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 02/24/2006

“Itchy Heart” is a romantic comedy with some winning performances and almost no plot. It refers directly to “The Seven Year Itch”, the brilliant dark comedy by Billy Wilder both in its title and dialog but this a movie that probably won’t be remembered by the talented cast that made it, while fans and critics can quote pages of dialog from “The Seven Year Itch”. It also contains the one of the iconic images of U.S. film, Marilyn Monroe standing over the subway grating. “Itchy Heart” has no such images; its dialog is unmemorable, the characters are thinner than cardboard cutouts and the payoff is completely unbelievable. While movies like this thrive on improbable coincidence, the audience has to have something invested in the outcome for it to accept that a once in a billion chance would actually happen. “Itchy Heart” gives no reason for such an investment.

Lau Ching-Wan is wonderful as Poon Chi-Man, the husband on the loose in the fleshpots of Hong Kong while his wife takes a shopping trip in Japan with a friend. He makes the most of the only properly developed role in the movie. Lau makes it seem almost inevitable that he will be successful when after seven years of monogamy he hits the clubs cruising for chicks. In one evening he picks up both a hot young thing and a former girlfriend who is still pining for him even though he is older and squarer than most the men in the club. The young woman is Cherry, winningly impersonated by Cherrie Ying who is cuter than a box full of puppies. She has almost nothing to do other than act cute and does it quite well. Carina Lau plays Bing, the ex-girlfriend and pretty much phones in her role which is, unfortunately, all that it deserved. Neither of these characters develops—both simply provide either plot points in Poon’s story or as foils for Lau Ching-Wan. For example in a scene cited below by John R in which both Poon and Bing are getting foot massages and talking about old times, Bing all but recedes into the woodwork. On an ill-fated camping trip, Cherry tells Poon that she laughs when a man touches her but melts when he cries. Cherry actually does disappear while Lau Ching-Wan mugs, cries and sprays himself in the eyes with insect repellent. It is impossible to tell from the evidence in “Itchy Heart” if Andy On is a terrible actor or just a bad actor stuck in a role from hell.

Wil is quick to anger, insanely jealous, ill-mannered and quite stupid. There is one scene with Cherrie Ying toward the end of the movie in which Wil doesn’t do anything other than hold a coffee cup. It is as if Ying was playing against a blue screen and On was keyed in later—one’s attention is drawn to him because he is so inert and lifeless. One assumes that the role was written this way—it is one that would have frustrated Toshiro Mifune or Robert De Niro so Andy doesn’t have a chance. Coco Chiang Yi as Mrs. Poon was a bonus. She is gorgeous and placid in a role that required only placidity and looks quite fetching while eating salad. Her character was flatly unbelievable during the scene which laid the basis for the final recognition between husband and wife. It wasn’t the actress’ fault—it would have been impossible for anyone to sell the line that she had returned from Japan early because she won a trip to the Maldives in a drawing and was just dropping in for some resort wear.

For the recognition scene itself to work the audience needs to buy into a one in a million coincidence happening and by the time it came about the filmmakers had forfeited any right to a willing suspension of disbelief. By then one just didn’t care what happened to them as long as it happened quickly.

The lack of plot—and possible lack of interest by the screenwriters—was papered over with a couple of lyrical musical interludes with Poon, first with Cherry then with Bing, playfully cavorts in quick cuts while sticky sweet pop music swells on the soundtrack. Further padding was provided by Iceberg, a very handsome canine, whose appearance, disappearance and reappearance helped to keep things limping along in the second half of the movie.

Recommended only for Lau Ching-Wan’s performance and some lovely shots of Hong Kong from a helicopter and Hokkaido from a Ferris wheel.

Reviewer Score: 2

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 09/01/2005
Summary: Rare item: Really good Rom Com

A thoroughly enjoyable romance comedy. Lau Ching Wan is extra good, especially in the first half. You know the guy's good when he can make you laugh without saying anything (I'm thinking of the scene where his character gets a foot massage. It's one most actors would have done nothing with, but he takes it to a higher level.) He's just wonderful.

As the others noted, Carina Lau, whose work here wasn't as inspired as Lau's, played her character just right and Cherry Ying, pretty much a flower vase here, was charming and lovely to look at. Global warming is real and it's being caused by her smile.

I'm not an Andy On fan, and I'm not not an Andy On fan, but I don't agree with the negative review he got below (sorry). I thought he did ok; not necessarily more than ok, but not less.

Anyway, this is a well-done, funny, film that fans of romance comedy will love.

Reviewed by: bkasten
Date: 02/17/2005
Summary: It has its moments....

Lau Ching-Wan playing his typical hilarious romantic comedy role finds himself in a situation where he's living with one girlfriend (or wife, it's not clear), and manages to "re-hook-up" with his old flame (Carina Lau) as well as catch the eye of the stunning Cherrie Ying...all in the same night no less. The rest is a rather improbable sequence of events that certainly keeps one interested, and keeps one laughing.

It also keeps one looking, as this is a really beautifully shot film in both scenery and backdrop, along with the additional benefit of displaying the gorgeous Cherrie Ying, as well as the delightful screen presence of Carina. I love Carina now more than ever.

The sweetness of the movie becomes rather soured by the excessive 10-15 minutes of screen time we get of Andy On--who has certainly proven capable of playing vacuous action roles like those in New Police Story, Black Mask 2 or Star Runner where he essentially doesn't speak. And with his "hair"--or in the case of Black Mask, a mask--he can easily be doubled for the full duration of a fight scene, so his lack of fighting skills in such movies is not an issue. However, pretty much anything where speaking is involved (let alone actual dialog) will instantly reveal a hammy ineptitude that plumbs to the depths of, say, Michael Wong on a bad day. Andy On has no business being in a movie opposite Carina Lau or even Lau Ching-Wan. Simon "straight to video" Yam and Shu Qi, maybe; but even in the case of Looking for Mr. Perfect he has minimal dialog and zero presence. My advice to Andy is take a cue from Ekin: shut up and let your hair do most of your acting...although I suspect this movie, with his 50-60 words of dialog, will probably be the most serious role of his career.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: cissie
Date: 07/03/2004
Summary: Enjoyable Comedy

Lau Ching Wan plays a man whose marriage has gone stale and decides to make the most of his ‘freedom’ when his wife goes away for a few days. While out at a club he meets a beautiful young girl (Cherry In) and also runs into an old girlfriend (Carina Lau). This gives rise to a number of amusing situations as he spends time with both women. Andy On is entertaining as Carina Lau’s jealous boyfriend and all the performers give likable comedic performances. The overall result is quite enjoyable.