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If U Care...

"Yeah, we're going to hell for making this movie."

Gillian Chung and Eason Chan in If U Care....

Chinese: 賤精先生  
Year: 2002
Director: Adrian Kwan Shun-Fai
Producer: Benny Chan Muk-Sing
Writer: Adrian Kwan Shun-Fai, Peter Tsi, Wai Mei
Cast: Eason Chan Yik-Shun, Gillian Chung Yun-Tung, Candy Lo Hau-Yam, Eric Kot Man-Fai, Rain Li Choi-Wah, Hui Siu-Hung, Tony Wai Ka-Hung, Lawrence Chou Chun-Wai, Yoyo Yiu Wing-Man, GC Goo Bi, Lam Suet, Patrick Tang Kin-Won, Bonnie Wong Man-Wai, Tats Lau Yi-Tat
The Skinny: Despite some fine sentiments, this comedy-drama is overwrought and full of too many cloying details. Stars Eason Chan and Gillian Chung provide some welcome moments, but as a whole this is a questionably affecting and thoroughly bizarre motion picture.
 
Review
by Kozo:

Hey, Eason Chan can act! One of Hong Kong's more prolific - and even box-office friendly - recent actors, Chan possesses range which could recommend him for a variety of roles. Unfortunately, Chan's range also includes a hideous library of funny faces and eyebrow-raising antics, none of which are subtle. They can also be annoying and downright displeasing. Small doses would be nice.

The full gamut of Eason Chan's histrionics is on display in If U Care..., a bizarre comedy with some very down-to-earth sentiments. Chan plays Gino Cheung, a selfish trickster who works for a design firm where he routinely steals ideas and spars with his co-workers (including Candy Lo). Gino is an overbearingly bad guy. Not only does he torture beggars and little kids, but he'll also steal life support from an injured patient to power his laptop. To be blunt, Gino Cheung sucks.

Ah, but a comeuppance is in order. Gino gets into a traffic accident which injures his right hand. He's saved by his childhood love, Gillian (played by Twins member Gillian Chung), who's now a fireman. Being a fireman was actually Gino's childhood wish, but somewhere along the way he became the scum of the earth. Seeing Gillian brings some humanity back to him, which is understandable as Gillian is one of those amazingly wonderful girls who can only exist in the movies. Writer/director Adrian Kwan gets the best mileage out of the scenes between Chan and Chung, as they're remarkably sweet and endearing moments. Those moments make you wish for Gino to change, if only because Gillian genuinely would like him to. Otherwise, the guy can rot. Yes, he's that reprehensible.

However, just finding Gillian isn't enough to make Gino a good guy. No, the accident also imbues him with a special power: he can now experience people's feelings when he touches them with his injured right hand. This leads him to do the occasional good, but the overriding desire seems to be to use his right hand for corporate chicanery. It's a good time too, since he's embroiled in the machinations of his co-workers and even rival designer Jennifer (Rain Li). For a while it looks like Gino will use his powers for evil rather than good. But, this is a movie intended for popular entertainment. Gino's going to turn around eventually. The question is whether or not his journey is a good one.

Adrian Kwan has adopted some familiar themes (positive reinforcement, caring for others, and general selflessneess) and kneaded them into a truly bizarre and overdone storyline and even more annoying direction. Gino's emotional empathy is usually accompanied by screwy music and fast-motion mugging by Chan. Many of the characters behave in distractingly obnoxious ways, with Rain Li winning the award for most annoying acting of the year. Even the usually welcome Candy Lo is uncharacteristically uninteresting. And the multiple subplots and annoyingly obvious platitudes weigh the film down. If Kwan had pared down the excess of the film, the likely result would have been a better motion picture. As it is, he crams too much questionable content into a well-meaning premise. The lesson: sometimes less is more.

On the other hand, the film seems to improve by 800% whenever Gillian Chung and Eason Chan are onscreen together. Not that the scenes are really that good, but at least they channel some welcome emotion into the proceedings. Chung is the only actor in the film who doesn't overact, and while her performance shouldn't be considered good (sweet and cute does not an actress make), she's suitably adorable and winning. Chan plays well off of her, and actually appears likable and even human during those moments.

Whenever Chung isn't around, however, Chan cuts loose like a madman. But, his ability to convincingly switch from annoying heel to likable lout is one that should earn him better roles. The guy really can play many types, which is a welcome ability not seen in many popstar/actors. The main problem with If U Care... is not Chan's serial overacting, but the all-over-the-place story and script which takes nearly 110 minutes to reach a merciful end. The schizophrenic tone, hyperactive direction and annoying supporting characters seal the deal. If U Care... is pretty much a waste of time, but even worse, it's a waste of potential. (Kozo 2002)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Universe Film Production

   
 
 
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