Thursday, May 28, 2009

146) If You Are the One (2008)

146) If You Are the One (2008) Dir: Xiaogang Feng Not Yet Released Date Seen: May 27th, 2009 Rating: 2.75/5

Spoilers below!

Xiaogang Feng's If You Are the One, a romantic comedy about Qin Fen (You Ge), a 40-something year-old man that goes in search of his soulmate and ends up finding Shu Qi,  may be one of the most simplistic, herky-jerky attempts to use melodrama to tackle the current economic crisis. In it, Qin goes on a series of blind dates and eventually gets the more curious than deeply emotionally involved Smiley (Qi) to agree to be his wife. Her one condition is that she'll always have her ex-husband in her heart. The rest of the film is spent with Qin trying to woo her over, a venture that eventually pays off after she tries to kill herself. Apparently the trauma of the event makes her realize that Qin really is the right guy for her after all. What does this have to do with the economy, you ask? According to Feng, everything. 

Though his role as an inventor and hence an active cog in the wheel of the big money machine is relatively minor, Qin's outlook on life is meant to serve as a model of patience in the face of certain doom. At the beginning of the film, Qin sells the patent of a tube meant to resolve conflicts for two million dollars but by the end, he has to buy it back because nobody takes it seriously. Like Smiley's love, his monetary prosperity comes and goes freely. Apparently, all you have to do when things get tough is wait for it to try to kill herself, I mean to get better.

That kind of blaise truism is so in love with its self-satisfied non-resolution that it smothers the film's better moments, specifically the handful of delicately observed scenes of conversation between Qin and Smiley, with its overbearing insistence that everything will work itself out somehow, someway--so long as your girlfriend has a change of heart after TRYING TO KILL HERSELF (can you tell I'm angry?). These quiet bits of dialogue are all inevitably cut short by Feng's persistently listless wandering from one scene to the next. If I'm not even allowed the small pleasure of watching the two bond at a natural pace, I think I'd just rather wait for a better romcom to come along.

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