Yours and Mine

"Yours and Mine" is a knockabout Taiwanese comedy directed like an art movie. Clever idea of overlapping characters and plots, sliced up into four sections, is robbed of almost all its energy and fun by static camerawork, long takes and a directorial approach that is condescendingly at one remove from its richly drawn characters.

With:
With: Bai Bing-bing, Gu Bao-ming, Hsih Li-jing, Lin Cheng-sheng, Jeffrey Xu. (Mandarin and Hokkien dialogue)

“Yours and Mine” is a knockabout Taiwanese comedy directed like an art movie. Clever idea of overlapping characters and plots, sliced up into four sections, is robbed of almost all its energy and fun by static camerawork, long takes and a directorial approach that is condescendingly at one remove from its richly drawn characters. Look no farther than a few fest outings for this second feature by Wang Shau-di, previously responsible for the chaotic “Accidental Legend.”

Picture is divided into four titled chunks — “Car,” “House,” “Body” and “Love” — which presupposes some kind of commentary on the major preoccupations of ’90s Taipei society. Wang’s characters, who range from an auto-obsessed head of a murky plastic surgery clinic, through a cantankerous middle-aged employee (Bai Bing-bing) always rowing with her neighbors, to a lonely restaurateur (Lin Cheng-sheng, director of “A Drifting Life” and “Murmur of Youth”), are all neatly selected stereotypes whose stories interweave in often surprising and ingenious ways.

At every stage, however, Wang undercuts the pic’s comic potential and ironic observation with direction that’s completely out of kilter with her subject matter. Result is a two-hour haul instead of a sparky, 90-minute entertainment with a social edge. Tech credits are OK. Chinese title roughly translates as “I Must Be Nuts.”

Yours and Mine

Taiwanese

Production: A Rice Film Intl. production. (International sales: Rice Film, Taipei.) Produced, executive produced by Huang Li-ming. Directed, written by Wang Shau-di.

Crew: Camera (color), Tsai Sheng-tai; editor, Lei Cheng-ming; art direction, Yang Cheng-yi; sound, Tu Tu-chih. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 12, 1997. (Also in Vancouver, London festivals.) Running time: 116 MIN.

With: With: Bai Bing-bing, Gu Bao-ming, Hsih Li-jing, Lin Cheng-sheng, Jeffrey Xu. (Mandarin and Hokkien dialogue)

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