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My Ex-Wife’s Wedding

Love fades but won't let go in "My Ex-Wife's Wedding," a glossy but only partially successful Pan-Asian take on the post-divorce romantic-comedy subgenre.

With:
With: Chen Kun, Yuan Quan, Lu Yi, Debbie Goh. (Mandarin dialogue)

Love fades but won’t let go in “My Ex-Wife’s Wedding,” a glossy but only partially successful Pan-Asian take on the post-divorce romantic-comedy subgenre. With its eye firmly locked on the Far East date-movie market, where product placement holds equal importance with star power, pic offers a slick experience, but the package loses its luster the longer the film goes on. China-Hong Kong-South Korea co-production opens later this month in China, with a Hong Kong run later in the year. Offshore, pic will be confined to Asian-themed fests with a commercial bent.

Compulsive consumer Xiaohung (Yuan Quan) is introduced lying in a confined space, in full bridal regalia, with an equally well-groomed Ma Yong (Chen Kun, “Mulan”) resting on top of her. Their car has overturned en route to their wedding, and their marriage turns out to be a complete train wreck; the two quickly drift apart, as Xiaohong spends money faster than Ma’s wedding-planning business can make it.

Soon after the break-up, Ma connects with his similarly fashion-conscious business partner, Zhao Hui (Debbie Goh); realizing they’ll never be happy until Xiaohong remarries, they pair her up with their company’s clumsy, tongue-tied star photographer, Zhang Qi (Lu Yi, “Aftershock”). Zhang is willing, but Xiaohong is unsure who is pulling the strings on her new romance.

Having set up its scenario with rapid direction and amusing moments, pic enters a familiar romantic-comedy danger zone, as it’s uncertain whether helmer Lee Kung-lok (“All About Love”) is aiming for laughs or tears. Indecisive tone lingers far too long, as Xiaohong and Ma have more changes of heart than a cardiac surgeon.

Lee’s signature visual flair falters during this messy third act, and while the climactic scene is dramatically satisfying, the yarn never regains its initial momentum.

Thesps give it their all but achieve varying levels of success. Chen works well as the Machiavellian ex-husband who hates to see his ex unhappy; Lu is likable in a more sustained version of a standard Ralph Bellamy role, but lacks the chops to pull off his pratfalls. Debbie Goh is so impressive as Ma’s g.f., waiting for her man to let go of his ex-wife, she might have been a better choice for Xiaohong than the frequently irritating Yuan.

HD lensing is crisp throughout, highlighting a visual quality that reflects the production’s South Korean component. Op art-style credits sequence (created by Violette Poon and accompanied by Veronica H. Lee’s jazzy, syncopated score) opens the film with a stylish bang that should delight fashion-conscious auds. Other tech credits are likewise pro.

My Ex-Wife's Wedding

China-Hong Kong-South Korea

Production: A Sundream Motion Pictures (in Hong Kong)/October Pictures (in South Korea) release of a Beijing Polybona Film Distribution Co., Sundream Motion Pictures, iHQ, Beijing DingDian Zhongshi Intl. Advertising Co. presentation of a Nabi Pictures, October Pictures production. (International sales: Distribution Workshop, Hong Kong.) Produced by Daniel Yu, Jo Min Whan, Tom Cheung, Catherine Park, Jeffrey Chen, Kim Sung-soo. Executive producers, Yu Dong, Stephen Ng, Jung Hoon-tak, Ma Yan Wen. Co-producers, Chu Chen On, Szeto Kamyuen, Kim Chul-soo, Zhang Hao. Directed by Lee Kung-lok. Screenplay, Szeto Kamyuen, Deng Liqi, Zhu Wen, based on the novel by Li Wei.

Crew: Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Jason Kwan; editor, Manda Wai; music, Veronica H. Lee; art director, Wu Ming; production designer, Lu Dong; sound (Dolby Digital), Yang Jiang; associate producers, Jiang Zhaijin, Jude Long. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (A Window on Asian Cinema), Oct. 9, 2010. Running time: 89 MIN.

With: With: Chen Kun, Yuan Quan, Lu Yi, Debbie Goh. (Mandarin dialogue)

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