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Cha Cha for Twins
Cha Cha for Twins

Peijia Huang and Peijia Huang are Mini and Poni in Cha Cha for Twins.


Year: 2012  
Director: Yang Yi-Chien, Jim Wang  

Yang Yi-Chien


Peijia Huang , Paul Chiang, Lu Ouyang, Winnie Chang

  The Skinny:

Taiwan youth film about twins, though only one actress plays them. Directors Yang Yi-Chien and Jim Wang stretch out their contrived sitcom situation into a likeable little film, and Peijia Huang charms in the lead. Nothing that special happens here but really, that's just fine.

by Kozo:
Double your pleasure with Cha Cha For Twins, an enjoyable but contrived youth film from the Taiwan Cinema factory. Screen newcomer Peija Huang stars as both Poni Chang and Mini Chang, 17 year-old identical twins coming of age — though perhaps at different speeds. The two are teammates on the school basketball team, but each has a different mindset. Mini is more candid and impetuous, and shrugs off basketball practices while Poni spends hours in the gym to prepare for that next possession or rebound. Mini is pursued by debate team member Yogurt (Lu Ouyang), while Poni becomes infatuated with Ping (Paul Chiang), a dopey lad who belongs to a local gangster family. Two hours of terrible communication, mistaken identity and squabbling twins ensues. Will Mini and Poni get through this rough patch with their sisterly bond intact, and will this sitcom pilot be picked up for a full season?

Despite resembling a television situation comedy, Cha Cha For Twins works because the filmmakers don’t treat their material like it belongs in one. The story of Poni and Mini — and how they get into silly shenanigans because they look exactly alike — would be great for a half-hour weekly but directors Jim Wang and Yang Yi-Chien go for Taiwan pop-art cinema style, complete with pleasing scenery, quirky characters and an enjoyably light, even droll tone. There’s some tougher stuff hinted at, e.g., Ping’s gangster ties plus Poni’s use of birth control pills as a means of delaying menstruation (It’s to play in a basketball game, really!), but the situations and characters are portrayed with an enjoyable innocence. Real tension is nonexistent, everybody has the best of intentions and all wounds are easily healed. Cha Cha For Twins plays it safe and never gets too serious or too silly, making it very easy to like.

Unfortunately, the film runs too long, and stretches its story to the point that it risks credibility. One large conflict involves Ping not knowing that Poni has a twin, but that doesn't feel credible given the environment (they’re all students in the same school) plus some specific plot developments, like when Ping’s gangster sister (Winnie Chang) reveals that she knows about the relationship between Mini and Yogurt, and yet she somehow doesn’t know that Mini has a twin named Poni. Also, all the conflicts could be solved if people just had a conversation, but everybody avoids them. Yes, these are kids and kids sometimes repress their feelings because they’re afraid of being hurt. However, the film is told largely in voiceover from Poni, and it’s hard to believe that a person this self-aware would engage in such bad communication. At some point, Cha Cha For Twins doesn’t support its own premise.

The performances are solid enough. Peijia Huang charms in the lead; with her huge eyes, cute snaggle-toothed smile and non-threatening sassiness, she’s like a manga heroine come to life. Some of scenes where she acts against herself feel a bit awkward, but the twinning visual effects are seamless and easily convince. Her love interests consistently amuse, with Paul Chiang demonstrating the same slow-witted likability that he did in Au Revoir, Taipei. Contrivances aside, Jim Wang and Yang Yi-Chien have put together a pleasing and well-made package that should easily earn mass audience approval. For its genre, Cha Cha For Twins is fine, and its twins hook allows it extra room to say the same old things in the same pleasing Taiwan Cinema way. This is style over substance that earns a recommendation nonetheless. (Kozo, reviewed at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, 12/2012)

  Availability: DVD (Taiwan)
Region 3 NTSC
Taisheng Multimedia Corporation
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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