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親愛的 (2008)
Forgive and Forget

Reviewed by: Brian Thibodeau
Date: 12/31/2009

After the snowballing success of his "love trilogy", culminating in this year's blockbuster L FOR LOVE L FOR LIES, writer-director Patrick Kong—taking on the scent of a one-trick pony—dresses up his caustic but not untruthful philosophies about contemporary romance with a secondhand catalogue of regional horror movie ornamentation, to middling effect. As with the trilogy, which also included MARRIAGE WITH A FOOL and LOVE IS NOT ALL AROUND, character twists lurk around as many corners as the specters supposedly haunting amnesiac accident victim Alice Tzeng, revisiting Hong Kong from Taiwan to help friends plan a memorial for ex-boyfriend Kelvin Kwan, who died in an unrelated car wreck on the same day. When not exhibiting intermittent signs of possession—cue blood red dresses, vacant gazes and visions of ownerless toy balls bouncing down staircases in slow motion—Tzeng tries to help her strangely capricious downstairs neighbor Miki Yeung (more or less reprising her role from L FOR LOVE L FOR LIES) cope with her crumbling "backup lover" relationship. Performances by the principals are decent enough (though Tzeng doesn't top her standout work in L FOR LOVE), but irritating supporting players nearly sink the ship: pop singer Siu Fei mugs mercilessly throughout, to the point of giving unnecessarily early hints of the now familiar mechanisms at work in Kong's screenplay, while the tween-ish girl group Hotcha (Crystal Cheung, Regen Cheung and Winkie Lai)—the latest discovery of producer/presenter Paco Wong's Gold Label music machine—makes a distractingly unpolished debut.

Reviewer Score: 6