My DNA Says I Love You!

There's a much livelier rom-com at the heart of the catchily titled "My DNA Says I Love You!" than ever consistently reaches the screen in this Mainland-shot second feature by Taiwanese helmer Robin Lee ("The Shoe Fairy").

With:
With: Terri Kwan, Yu Nan, Peter Ho, Eddie Peng, Lin Yu-lun. (Mandarin dialogue)

There’s a much livelier rom-com at the heart of the catchily titled “My DNA Says I Love You!” than ever consistently reaches the screen in this Mainland-shot second feature by Taiwanese helmer Robin Lee (“The Shoe Fairy”). Screwy yarn about two female friends who try to fix their lovelives by taking gene-supressant pills features some bright playing and an equally bright, pristine look. But Lee still lacks the writing and directorial smarts, plus sense of rhythm, to fully realize her outre ideas onscreen. Released in Taiwan and China in September, this is squarely for young Asian distaffers and Sinophile events.

Neat freak Gigi (Terri Kwan), who changes boyfriends almost as quickly as she changes her underwear, and depressive Marlene (Yu Nan), who pines for her workaholic lover (Lin Yu-lun), both work for a biotech company that manufactures character-changing pills. One day, to snag a slobby guy (Peter Ho) she fancies, Gigi decides to take some untested pills, which causes all kinds of chaos. Meanwhile, Marlene is romanced by her landlord’s son, handyman Teddy (Eddie Peng).

Bubbly and sexy, Kwan (“The Heirloom”) nails the fast, loopy tone the pic needs, and gets good support from most of the cast. However, Yu, more adept at drama (“Tuya’s Marriage”), seems miscast, dragging the picture down and not creating any special chemistry with Kwan. Though pic is set in a deliberately nonspecific, clinically neat Anytown, China, the prevailing mood and humor are very Taiwanese, making Yu (the sole Mainlander among the leads) further seem like a square peg in a round hole.

Film isn’t about pill addiction, per se, but rather about people needing to accept each others’ foibles and not pretend to be something they’re not. Theme only hovers into view in the latter stages, which also veer off into goofy f/x.

Tech package is largely good, with sharp lensing by Ching Ting-chang and effective use of scarily neat, toy-townish locations in Xiamen. Score by Danny Liang, however, is vamp-’til-ready bland.

My DNA Says I Love You!

Taiwan - China

Production: A Serenity (in Taiwan)/Chengtian (in China) release of a Beijing Film Studio, Warner China Film HG (China)/Three Dots Entertainment (Taiwan) presentation, in association with Serenity Entertainment Intl., Armor Entertainment, Media Vantage, Unit 9 Pictures, of a Three Dots Entertainment production. (International sales: Three Dots, Taipei.) Produced by Michelle Yeh. Executive producer, Han Sanping. Co-producers, Han Xiaoli, Shi Dongming, Jiang Tao, Zhao Haicheng. Directed by Robin Lee (Lee Yun-chan). Screenplay, Lee, Meng Yao.

Crew: Camera (color), Ching Ting-chang; editor, Gu Hsiao-yun; music, Danny Liang; production designer/costume designer, Hsia Shao-yu; sound (Dolby Digital), Chou Chen. Reviewed on DVD, London, Oct. 29, 2007. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: With: Terri Kwan, Yu Nan, Peter Ho, Eddie Peng, Lin Yu-lun. (Mandarin dialogue)

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