Review: ‘38°C’

China gets its first SARS-era romantic comedy with "38°C," an odd-couple movie starring popular thesps Huang Lei and Tao Hong. An enjoyable enough time-passer of interest to Sinophiles, pic is most notable for the way in which China's commercial film industry is developing a rapid-response production system comparable to Hong Kong's.

China gets its first SARS-era romantic comedy with “38°C,” an odd-couple movie starring popular thesps Huang Lei and Tao Hong, both largely known for their TV work. An enjoyable enough time-passer of interest to Sinophiles, pic is most notable for the way in which China’s commercial film industry is developing a rapid-response production system comparable to Hong Kong’s.

Huang, who starred in the hit TV drama “April Rhapsody” and the flop Taiwan production “Fleeing by Night,” plays Xiaotian, a post-grad student who delivers a takeout meal to Xiaoyue (Tao), an airline stewardess. After one of her apartment building’s tenants develops the titular temperature, Xiaotian is trapped in Xiaoyue’s building when it’s sealed off for 15 days by health authorities. With the two thrown together, the inevitable gradually happens. The script is OK, and Huang is sympathetic as the mature student, but Tao — a fine actress in the right part (such as last year’s splendid “Life Show”) — is badly

38°C

China

Production

An Emei Film Studio, Chinese Movie Channel, Jiangsu Cultural Realty Development, Beijing Jinyingma Film & TV Culture Co. production. Produced by Yan Xiaoming, Li Kangsheng, Teng Zhan. Executive producers, Wei Min, Wang Lei, Teng Zhan. Directed by Liu Xin, Ai Ying. Screenplay, Zhu Ping, Liu Xin.

Crew

Camera (color), Liu Baogui; editor, Xu Dong; music, San Pi, Ding Ning; art director, Xu Guohua; costume designer, Su Haibin. Reviewed on videodisc, London, Oct. 25, 2003. Mandarin dialogue. Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Huang Lei, Tao Hong, Liu Long, Gao Yuan, Ma Xiaofeng, Fu Zhiwei, Tong Ruixin, Xie Yuxin, Chen Maolin, Niu Ben, Ding Jun, Wang Zhihua.
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