With a better script, “Holiday Dreaming” could have bannered writer-director Hsu Fu-chun as a fresh new voice in Taiwan’s quiescent cinema. But despite moments of charm, this semi-road movie about two guys and a girl on the lam ends up an irritatingly empty cinematic doodle showing more promise than accomplishment. Following local release Dec. 10, only occasional fest vacations look likely.
Ah-Zhou (Tony Yang, from gay comedy hit “Formula 17”) and Xiao-Guei (Huang Hung-sheng) lark around during military service in the countryside. Sent on special leave to find a deserter (Huang Tai-an) who’s gone nutty after losing his g.f., Ah-Zhou uses the excuse to track down a girl, Shin-shin (Chang Chun-ning), who he was crazy about in elementary school. Turns out she’s in a mental hospital after cracking from exam pressure, so the two pals and Shin-shin play hooky for a few days as beach bums, before real life again intrudes. Technically fine, pic is a collection of sometimes genuinely offbeat moments (such as a scene with a ditzy convenience store girl with a thing for soldiers) that’s stretched way beyond its limits. Original title means “Dreaming of Hawaii.”