“And I Hate You So” is a Romantic Comedy/Chick Flick. It’s a Chick Flick in the vein of “Serendipity”, and anyone interested in knowing what that means should go back and read the review for that particular movie. For the rest of us, let’s move on, shall we?
In “And I Hate You So”, Kelly Chen plays Luna, a self-absorbed columnist who accidentally meets Aaron Kwok, who plays Cheung, an equally self-absorbed radio DJ, when the two vie for possession of an old vinyl record. The record was a gift from Luna to her first love, who has sold it to a junk shop before moving to Canada. Disheartened by men in general, Luna launches into a fiery attack on Cheung in her columns, which leads to Cheung retaliating on his radio broadcast. As is the case with Romantic Comedies, the two hate each other so much that they’re bound to fall madly in love. Don’t tell me you didn’t see it coming.
The screenplay by Ivy Ho is a little odd, in that it splits its time between the feud and growing attraction between Cheung and Luna with the characters of Teresa Mo (“Hardboiled”) and Eric Tsang (“Three”). While Mo and Tsang’s characters are clearly designated as the Romantic Comedy sidekicks (which means they are meant to provide laughs), they hardly ever interact with the two leads. In fact, the only tie the sidekicks have with the leads is that Mo owns the junk shop that Luna locates her ex-boyfriend’s record in. Beyond that, the two plots have completely separate lifespan.
Besides the awkward diversion from the main story provided by the sidekicks, “And I Hate You So” spends the rest of its time chugging gamely toward its inevitable conclusion. Not surprisingly, Luna’s current boyfriend is a cad, unworthy of her love, but it is surprising that Cheung’s romantic entanglement is a co-worker who goes all weak-kneed around him, although he hardly notices she’s alive. Luna’s boyfriend is familiar, but I was a little caught off guard by the doormat quality of Cheung’s significant other. Later in the movie, Leslie Cheung (“Viva Erotica”) makes a glorified cameo as Luna’s first boyfriend, the guy who sold the record in the first place.
As the two leads, Kelly Chen (“Infernal Affairs”) and Aaron Kwok (“China Strike Force”) are good enough actors, and good-looking enough, to keep us occupied as the movie hits all the familiar territories on its way to its oh-so-unsurprising ending. While Kwok is going mostly for a subdued performance, Chen has other ideas, and every now and then her “buggy eye” acting style got to be a little much. Thankfully the direction by Chung-man Hai keeps reminding us that there’s nothing serious or of substance going on here, and the screenplay maintains its level of “it’s all just a movie” vibe.
As Romantic Comedies go, “And I Hate You So” is not a revelation. It’s a nice, decent little film that give the audience want it wants. The detours to Tsang and Mo could have been excised completely and the film would not have a changed a bit, although I suspect the movie’s running time might have gone way below the current 95 minutes. Like “Serendipity” and every other Romantic Comedy that’s come before it (and will come after it) “And I Hate You So” only has one requirement: be entertaining.
Chung-Man Hai (director) / Ivy Ho (screenplay)
CAST: Aaron Kwok …. Cheung Yeung
Kelly Chen …. Luna Ng
Mark Lui …. Chan Chun-Wah