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A Wedding Invitation
A Wedding Invitation

Bai Baihe and Eddie Peng get A Wedding Invitation.
Chinese: 分手合約  
Year: 2013  
Director: Oh Ki-Hwan  
Producer: Qi Ji, Kim Chi-Hyeong  

Qin Haiyan, A Mei

Cast: Bai Baihe, Eddie Peng Yu-Yan, Pace Wu (Ng Pui-Chi), Jiang Jinfu, Lin Mei-Shiu, Lan Yu, Zhao Yingjun
The Skinny: This romcom/tearjerker mix is manufactured and yet succeeds on the strength of stars Bai Baihe and Eddie Peng. Incredibly contrived but good for fans of this sort of thing.
by Kozo:

A Wedding Invitation mostly rises above its romantic comedy and melodrama tropes. Mostly. From Korean filmmaker Oh Ki-Hwan (who made the tearjerker The Last Present), the film stars Bai Baihe as Qiaoqiao, a ceramics artist who was romanced ten years ago by budding chef Li Xing (Eddie Peng). Back then, she was famously dour and never smiled so Li Xing worked overtime to get her to flash those pearly whites. Five years later, Qiaoqiao dumped Li Xing citing his lack of prospects. But they made a pact: in five more years, if Li Xing has the money and the props, Qiaoqiao might be persuaded to marry him. Those extra five years pass and Li Xing is now a successful chef competing to win an Asian cooking contest and a prestigious job at a three-star Michelin restaurant. Qiaoqiao’s obviously all giddy when Li Xing finally calls. But he’s not ringing up Qiaoqiao to ask her to marry him – he’s inviting her to attend his wedding, to his boss’ daughter Zhou Rui (Pace Wu). Unfortunately, Qiaoqiao meets irony.

Asian romance aficionados should be happy with A Wedding Invitation. This is a well-made iteration of the genre that marks the line between romantic comedy and melodrama sharply – i.e., the first half is a romantic comedy while the second half targets the tear ducts. Early on, Qiaoqiao is introduced as having survived medical treatment, with only oblique references to her exact malady given by her gay best bud Maomao (Jiang Jinfu, whose primary role in the film is expository). Obviously this subplot will return, which it does suddenly and to maximum waterworks-inducing effect. Before then, there’s plenty of romantic gamesmanship as Li Xing and Qiaoqiao spiritedly spar. Qiaoqiao’s character is occasionally unlikeable (she’s attempting to steal another’s fiancé), but the character’s obvious suffering and Bai Baihe’s arsenal of delightful mannerisms make her ultimately endearing. Actual creativity is sparse; the film’s twists are predictable and familiar. The filmmakers’ main triumph seems to be technical; the impeccable art direction and generous pacing make for an immersive experience regardless of the actual content.

The stars make this one shine. Besides the anime-eyed Bai Baihe, who swings between icy distance and infectious delight like a romcom pro, there’s Eddie Peng, who brings charisma and confidence to his dreamboat role. Li Xing is basically the perfect man, from his material success to his unwavering affection to his willingness to cry, and Qiaoqiao eventually shows that her cold exterior masks incredible selflessness and love. Oh Ki-Hwan treats his subject matter with reverence but doesn’t push into pretension; drama is familiar but also foreshadowed, so few of the twists come off as cheap. However, the story is too insular, with the film’s entire world revolving around these two characters and their romance. Even though self-absorption is common to romantic dramedies, the film ultimately only matches higher-end expectations of an average genre entry. A Wedding Invitation is one for fans and it should rightfully find some, but non-fans should probably accept an invitation to a different film, from obviously a different genre. Take your pick. (Kozo, 6/2013)



DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Edko Films Ltd. (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
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Image credit: Edko Films Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen