Fox's virgin venture into Chinese-language production and distribution, bubbles along with a jaunty but unoriginal blend of the sweet, tart, cute and weepy.

A “Valentine’s Day”-style romantic multi-strander, “Hot Summer Days,” Fox’s virgin venture into Chinese-language production and distribution, bubbles along with a jaunty but unoriginal blend of the sweet, tart, cute and weepy. Negotiating five barely linked plotlines set around Beijing, Hong Kong and Shenzhen during the hottest summer ever, helming duo Tony Chan and Wing Shya skip nimbly from story to story, avoiding boredom but guaranteeing superficiality. Star-studded pic has already scored big in Asia, and its limited Stateside release should rev up DVD interest.

Despite threadbare meet-cutes and coy ploys at playing hard to get, the material is made enormously likable by engaging thesps, foremost among them Jacky Cheung, as an ex-driver reduced to parading around in an ice-cube costume, and Rene Liu, as a pianist employed as a foot masseuse. A motorcycle pas de deux between a gorgeous, tattooed mystery girl (Barbie Hsu) and an air-conditioning repairman (Nicholas Tse) exudes ghoulishly schmaltzy charm; even the country-simple tale of a teddy-bear factory worker (Angelababy) who tests the devotion of her hick swain (Fu Xinbo) rings true. And then there’s long-absent Maggie Cheung, weeping and abandoned in a solo cameo.

Hot Summer Days

Hong Kong

Production

A Fox Intl. Prods. (in U.S.) release of a Fox Intl. Prods., Star Television Asia, Huayi Brothers Media, Hot Summer Pictures production. Produced by Fruit Chan, Paul Cheng. Executive producer, Wang Zhongjun. Co-producers, Zhang Dajun, Bernard Yang. Co-executive producer, Wang Zhonglei. Directed by Tony Chan, Wing Shya. Screenplay, Chan, Lucretia Ho.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Sion Michel; editor, Wenders Li; music, Eddie Chung, Eugene Pao; production designer, Sean Kunjambu; costume designer, Sean Kunjambu. Reviewed at Quad Cinema, New York, Oct. 2, 2010. Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Jacky Cheung, Rene Liu, Vivian Hsu, Daniel Wu, Nicolas Tse, Barbie Hsu, Angelababy, Fu Xinbo, Duan Yihong, Gordon Liu, Boran Jing, Maggie Cheung.
(Mandarin, Cantonese dialogue)

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