Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 3rd February 2013
Released on DVD and Blu-ray across Asia
Director: James Yuen
Starring: Ekin Cheng, Charlene Choi, Zhang Xin-Yi, Jones Xu
HK Box-office Takings: HK$10,820,150
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Its been a long ten years since the last James Yuen’s mini cult classic “My Wife is 18”. I am not entirely sure if the public actually needed a sequel, but “My Sassy Hubby” is surprisingly fresh, highly enjoyable and even providing a rather mature and realistic outlook in modern relationships. While the first film centre on love, interest and youth, the sequel looks at a more relevant and prominent issue of what happens when love fades and life takes over. In the process, director James Yuen (“Crazy N the City”) provides the audience with plenty of life-like scenarios, complications, regular household arguments and finishing off with the vital ingredient by adding an uniquely Hong Kong flavour to it. “My Sassy Hubby” works because it tries extremely hard to relate with the audience and not to mention, the wonderful established chemistry between Charlene Choi and Ekin Cheng is once again very much in play. This film may not be a total success, but in terms of entertainment value with a faction of emotional core, “My Sassy Hubby” easily delivers on most fronts.
Its been quite a while since we last saw Ekin Cheng take on a leading role (last being 2010’s “Once a Gangster”) and even longer from his last romantic outing (2005’s “It Had to be You”). Therefore to see Cheng takes on his famed Thirteen Cheung is actually a Hong Kong cinematic welcome back. In this film, Cheng has clearly matured, both in his acting and appearances, which in some ways he is actually playing himself. Nowadays, Cheng has come into terms with his own limited acting range and by playing Thirteen Cheung, Cheng is essentially playing himself, a man nearing forty and a mid-life crisis. His underlying chemistry with Yoyo Ma’s (Charlene Choi) playful and sassy personality provides the film with plenty of gags and highlight moments. Choi on the other hand delivers a much more restrained performance than her over the top ultra cuteness role ten years back. While, Choi may lacks her previous comic antics, there a number of notable scenes like on the hospital bed where she manages to touch the audience. Choi has always been a decent dramatic actress, take “Simply Actors” for instance, and at the age of 28, she seems to have find the right balance between acting cute and discipline at the same time. Zhang Xin-Yi possesses some rather acting looks and the lingering scene near the end, when she rides away in the taxi, provides the film with one of its moments. Jones Xu on the other hand, as Yoyo’s potential suitor comes off rather cliché, cloying and rather unrealistic.
All in all, “My Sassy Hubby” is a welcome addition to the “My Wife is 18” series and credos to director and writer James Yuen for keeping the sequel surprisingly fresh and interesting. While it is not exactly cinematic gold, Yuen manages to portray a realistic look into the dynamics in a modern relationship and in the process providing the audience with characters that that they can easily identify with. It helps when you have a comfortable leads in Choi and Cheng. Still, Yuen manages to deliver his message without being overtly cynically and repetitive and in turn, making “My Sassy Hubby” much in the reins of “My Wife is 18”, a simple guilty pleasure to watch. (Neo 2013)
I rated it 7.25/10