The sequel to Love in a Puff finds Jimmy and Cherie nine months later, starting new lives in Beijing after their relationship ends. Despite each of them meeting someone new, they can’t seem to forget each other and are torn between their new partners and their old feelings.
When you get into a relationship with someone, how much of what happens to you in that relationship changes you and how much is just good – or bad – luck? In Love in the Buff, his follow-up to cigarette smoking hook-up film Love in a Puff, Hong Kong director Pang Ho-Cheung-ho raises these questions and more than a few bawdy laughs as well.
Cherie (Miriam Yeung) and Jimmy (Shawn Yue) have cemented their relationship established in the previous film but the romance has gone out of it. Jimmy is still a big self-indulgent kid, while the slightly older Cherie is getting frustrated by the number of times he keeps her waiting. Arguing about the same things, change is forced upon them when Jimmy is offered a well-paying job with a Beijing advertising company and Cherie declines to follow him there.
On the plane to Beijing Jimmy meets and charms air hostess You You (Mini Yang). It takes Jimmy about five minutes before he’s in a new relationship with the frequent travelling woman. Despite opting not to go to China, the make-up chain store where Cherie works decides to close the Hong Kong branch and concentrate purely on Beijing and Shanghai. Accordingly, Cherie finds herself on the Mainland shuffling between both cities. Cherie meets a handsome, kindly rich guy, Sam (Xu Zheng), in the first meet cute that pivots a cellphone dropped in a toilet.
Despite adoring new partners, neither Cherie nor Jimmy are satisfied with their choices and find themselves re-entering each other’s orbit. Without labouring the point, Pang has each of the re-acquainted lovers consider the preserved last cigarette butts suggesting that love, like smoking, can be a pointless addiction.
The humour of the first 40 minutes is frequently bawdy and rings true, but as the film progresses Western audiences will have to accept that some of the jokes are for Hong Kong locals only. Regardless, the film itself remains comprehensible. The final half-hour focuses on the dramatic intensity of the romantic comedy’s essential emotional component, but once the story is tied up, Pang gets his audience laughing once again. The closing credits are a hilarious parody of a famous Linda Wong MTV clip. Because the original clip features in a karaoke bar sequence, you’ll be able to get that the parody is a Canto-pop equivalent to the Abba clip parody in Muriel’s Wedding – but much funnier.
Another relationship on show here is the one between Hong Kong filmmakers and the big bucks of China co-production. Even before the 1997 British handover of the Hong Kong territory back to China, Hong Kong filmmakers were already modifying their content – some said self-censoring – their films to comply with China’s film laws and constraints. The characters of Love in the Buff swap back and forth between Cantonese and Mandarin, just as easily as they move between Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, but the film, with its strong sexual humour and its great irreverence, has truly kept its Hong Kong character. China can be an aggressive dance partner – and the people of Hong Kong know this well. By keeping that characteristic Hong Kong irreverence, Love in the Buff is not only a funny film and a sweet film, it’s also a brave film.
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Chinese Title: 春娇与志明 / 春嬌與志明
Director: Ho-Cheung Pang (彭浩翔)
Writer: Ho-Cheung Pang (彭浩翔), Luk Yee Sum (陆以心)
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Romance
Distributor: China Lion Film Distribution
Date of release: March 30th, 2012
Official Site: http://www.mediaasia.com/loveinthebuff/
Cast: Miriam Young (杨千嬅), Shawn Yue (余文乐), Xu Zheng (徐峥), Mini Yang (杨幂), Roy Szeto (司徒慧焯), Vincent Kok (谷德昭), Isabel Chan (陈逸宁)
Synopsis of Love in the Buff:
When two ex-lovers from Hong Kong cross paths in Beijing, they realise they still have feelings for each other and start orchestrating trysts and assignations behind their partners’ back.
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