A tepid thriller involving an incorrigible philanderer, his latest love interest and his increasingly crazy wife, who devises a culinary revenge, "Deadly Delicious" lacks the recipe for international success.

A tepid thriller involving an incorrigible philanderer, his latest love interest and his increasingly crazy wife, who devises a culinary revenge, “Deadly Delicious” lacks the recipe for international success. Despite a handsome cast, debuting mainland helmer Zhao Tianyu fails to sustain the sizzle suggested by the food prep scenes under the opening credits. Set mostly in claustrophobic interiors, pic might have profited from a more over-the-top approach in terms of acting, design and camerawork, but, as delivered, comes off as bland and undercooked. It did middling business in China and is already available on DVD and as an Internet download.

Naive flight attendant Coco (looker Jiang Yiyan) moves into an apartment provided by her older businessman lover, Jiaqiao (Hong Kong thesp Francis Ng), but is hurt when he disparages her domestic skills. Helped by a mysterious woman (Yu Nan, so good in “Tuya’s Wedding,” but insipid here) she meets in the hallway, Coco starts serving elaborate meals that Jiaqiao wolfs down, but is baffled when he falls ill. The contradictions between food types provide pic’s most interesting element. Direction, script, perfs and tech credits are undistinguished.

Deadly Delicious

China

Production

An I.V. Wensheng presentation of a Megajoy Pictures production. (International sales: Creative Artists Agency, Beijing.) Executive producer, Jiang Yibai. Produced by Cai Kexin, Ruan Wenwen. Directed by Zhao Tianyu. Screenplay, Tianyu, Wang Yao, based on "Shuang Shi Ji" by Shuqiao.

Crew

Camera (color, DigiBeta), Song Xiaofei; editors, Cheung Ka Fai, Jiang Yong; music, Zhang Yang; art director, Lin Mu. Reviewed at Chicago Film Festival (World Cinema), Oct. 23, 2008. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Francis Ng, Yu Nan, Jiang Yiyan.
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