Review: ‘Love on a Diet’

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 make this an entertaining package for Asia-friendly fests.

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.

Love on a Diet

Hong Kong

Production

A China Star Entertainment Group release of a China Star presentation of a One Hundred Years of Film Co./Milkyway Image production. (International sales: China Star, H.K.) Produced by Charles Heung. Executive producers, Johnnie To, Wai Ka-fai. Directed by Johnnie To, Wai Ka-fai. Executive director, Law Wing-cheung. Screenplay, Wai, Yau Nai-hoi.

Crew

Camera (color), Cheng Siu-keung; editors, Law, Wong Wing-ming; music, Cacine Wong; production designer, Bruce Yu; art directors, Patrick Tsui, Takashi Akiba, Shigenari Okazaki; costume designer, Steven Tsang. Reviewed on videodisc, London, Oct. 13, 2001. Cantonese and Japanese dialogue. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng, Rikiya Kurokawa, Asuka Higuchi, Wong Tin-lam, Lam Suet, Cheung Chi-ping, Hung Wai-leung, Wong Mei-fan, Po Ming-nam.
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