Freed of his matinee-idol looks, Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau gives one of his best perfs in “Love on a Diet,” a fatty comedy-romance that grows into more than just a one-joke movie. Excellent prosthetics by Steve Johnson (“Species,” “Blade 2”), robust playing by Lau and singer-actress Sammi Cheng as his fellow porky and Japanese locations, make this an entertaining package for Asia-friendly fests. Pic is second-highest grosser of the year on home turf, gorging a mighty HK$40 million ($5 million) this summer.
Since losing touch with her b.f., Japanese pop pianist Tatsuya Kadokawa (Rikiya Kurokawa), Mini Mo (Cheng) has morphed into a 300-pound lovesick eating machine, but when Tatsuya confesses on radio that he still loves Mini, she decides, with the encouragement of fellow Hong Konger Fatso (Lau), to lose 200 pounds in six months to make a rendezvous with Tatsuya. Meantime, love sprouts between the two Chinese. Almost unrecognizable, and uncharacteristically raucous, Lau is especially good at small, childlike mannerisms that make his character more than a makeup stunt. Cacine Wong’s perky pizzicato score is just right, and the gross jokes are all good-natured.