By Pang Li
Director Feng Xiaogang gives his best to his latest comedy If You Are the One, a genre that Mr. Feng excels in and has garnered his fame from. It is hilarious, romantic, touching, thought-provoking and beautifully shot. After watching it, I have to say that it is much, much better than my expectations and Mr. Feng and the actor Ge You are undoubtedly at their best. Humor and wisdom are very likely to make the movie a big success in the fiercely competitive yearend market.
The movie has a stylish black and white beginning made up of documentary clips of world turmoil, war and hunger. It looked so serious-minded that I wondered whether I was watching a comedy. It turns out to be an advertisement for a "dispute solving device" for playing the rock-paper-scissors game. A rich businessman (played by comedian Fan Wei) is persuaded to buy the rights to the device for 3 million dollars and middle aged inventor Qin Fen (played by Ge You) becomes instantly rich. Qin's thoughts turn to marriage and he sets out to find a wife by publishing a personal ad on the Internet.
At the outset Qin does not have much luck. He meets a series of nightmare partners - a transvestite portrayed by veteran stage actor Feng Yuanzheng in an impressive performance, a pregnant single mother (Vivian Hsu), an amnesiac and a beautiful woman (Che Xiao) who specifies she only wants sex once a year - until he finds gorgeous stewardess Liang Xiaoxiao (Taiwan actress Shu Qi).
Liang is still deeply in love with her ex-boyfriend (Alex Fong) who has married someone else. But she decides to go on holiday with Qin to Hokkaido. When they arrive in Japan, the plot takes a new twist, still humorous but sad. For Qin the point of the trip is to win Liang's heart; for Liang, however, it is to recollect the happy moments that she spent with her former boyfriend and then commit suicide.
A still from If You Are the One
Qin's old friend who had married a Japanese woman and settled in Hokkaido meets them and acts as their guide. The birds' eye view shots of Hokkaido are incredibly beautiful and there is a poignant scene where a single SUV driving along winding roads symbolizes Liang's isolation after the failed relationship with her former boyfriend.
After several days' contemplation, Liang realizes that she cannot throw off the shadow of her past and decides to kill herself by jumping into the sea. I could hardly believe that Mr. Feng would kill off his heroine. Happily Liang does not die and finally lets her life turn a new page by accepting Qin as her boyfriend. So the audience gets a suitably happy ending for this New Year's romantic comedy.