review by Neo

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Yet another Marriage with a Fool…
Alex and Stephy have become the Andy and Sammi of the new generation. While this suggestion is still far fetched, their chemistry is undeniably and the radiate of seeing the two together on-screen is easing. Director Patrick Kong have improved from his last venture in Marriage with a Fool, but like the aforementioned flick, it comes off uneven, average and seemingly wanna-be smart. Kong goes a step further to make the movie look smarter than it is and ultimately fails miserably. While Edmond Pang’s Beyond Our Ken was seemingly ingenious and out rightly smart, Kong tries hard, but ends up lacking. The fault can be due to a variety of reasons, but the unevenness is caused of Alex Fong being criminally underused and the effect remains rather force than impacting.

The movie goes like this: Stephy comes across her ex-boyfriend Ryan (Alex Fong) who got dumped by her three years ago. Apparently Ryan still loves Bo, but Bo remains haunted by a series of misfortune happenings, which she suspected to be part of Ryan's vengeance plan, after she broke up with him and started with another guy. Meanwhile, her friend Wing's (Sammy) cheating on his wife (Linda Chung) also bothers her...

The story never seems to be heading anywhere and the somewhat smart finale is once again unfitting. As noted by Neo in last year, Marriage with a Fool, the effect is like an average movie for the entire duration and then suddenly editing a Wong Kar Wai or even Edmond Pang’s ending to it. While Love is Not All Around tries harder to be smart, but sometimes the audience just wish the director can concentrate on the movie main selling point – Alex and Stephy.
There is no doubt that the current reviewer does somewhat like Stephy, but Neo have yet to witness a ground breaking performance that can probably launch her career. While her fellow counterpart Miki have excelled with a credible scene stealing performance in B420, Stephy have venture through roles that are relatively the same. With that being said, her chemistry with Alex is extremely well established and perhaps it is the reason why director Kong so seamlessly attempts to cheat the audience. Likewise, Alex Fong once again fails to impresses and is a far fetch from his I’ll Call You days. Then again, his role here seems nothing more than a glorified cameo.

As for TVB actress Linda Chung performs well enough for a debut and her crying sequences seems natural enough at least for a starter. Likewise, she performs a similarly sort of role in the now famous TVB series – Heart of Greed. Sammy appears here and there and so does upcoming singer Hins Cheung. Unfortunately his involvement seems to promote his music abilities than actual acting. While there is no question that Neo likes a couple songs from Hins last album, his acting is almost non-existent.

All in all, Love is Not All Around doesn’t make much sense and while it avoided the un-related prequel pitfalls of overusing music videos, director Kong thinks he is smart and the end result suggests otherwise. While the flick could easier been the next I’ll Call You, but somehow it ends up going down the path of its predecessor. The movie seems to suggest that love is all about pretending not to know and that life is not what it seems to be. The movie offers nothing new to the notion of love and the idea that life is not always what it seems to be is fast becoming more cliché than anything else. Love is Not All Around is average and as much as the director wants to be smart, the movie is not smart and the results speak for itself…

I rate it 6.25/10

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Director: Patrick Kong
Casting: Alex Fong Lik-Sun, Stephy Tang Lai-Yun Linda Chung Ka-Yan, Sammy, Miki Yeung Oi-Gan, Hins Cheung King-Hin, Terry Hu (Wu Ching-Nam), Wang Nan, Sheila Chan Suk-Lan, Philip Ng Won-Lung, Monie Tung Man-Lei, Mimi Chu Mi-Mi
Genre: Romantic Drama/Comedy