Hot Summer Days 全城熱戀 (Chuen sing yit luen - yit lat lat) [2010] • Hong Kong, China

I laughed, I cried. This is a very fun, good looking, popcorn/date flick. Beneath its light-hearted surface there are some teary eyed love happenings. If you like star-studded Hong Kong romantic comedies and sugar-coated sentimentality, look no further.

Hot Summer Days tries to be cross-cultural by setting two of its four main story lines on the mainland but it's more in the tradition of Hong Kong rom-coms than mainland fare. Most of the actors are native Cantonese speakers. I watched this twice, once with the Mandarin audio and once with the Cantonese audio. There is some dubbing in both versions but the Cantonese version has less of it.

The eye candy comes in both flavors: boy and girl. They perspire a lot which leads to some clingy clothing, glistening skin, and probably the PG (or its Chinese equivalent) rating. Vivian Hsu has never been more freakishly cute and Barbie Hsu has never been more tattooed. The most heartwarming and intricate tale is that between Jacky Cheung, as an out of work truck driver cum ice cream salesman, and Rene Liu, as a concert pianist doing foot massage (because it's a job requiring skilled hands), which gets its start from a text message sent to the wrong number. The one that anchors the film and produces the most tears is the one, not given top billing on the poster, between newcomer Xinbo Fu, as an innocent country boy and Angela Baby (that's right, her name is Angela Baby), as a factory worker assembling teddy bears. Daniel Wu, as Master Soy Sauce, and Vivian Hsu, as Wasabi, have the cutest nicknames. Nicholas Tse and Barbie Hsu's story is the most hip and tragic.

There are cameos galore, the highlight being a weepy-eyed monologue from Maggie Cheung spilling her guts to Master Soy Sauce. Blah blah blah. If this is your cup of tea, drink it. It's good (except for some well intentioned CGI maybe). I hope I got all the links right.

Director: Tony Chan, Wing Shya
Starring: Nicholas Tse, Jacky Cheung, Rene Liu, Vivian Hsu, Barbie Hsu, Angela Baby, Daniel Wu


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