Review: SOPHIE'S REVENGE 非常完美 (2009) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Review: SOPHIE'S REVENGE 非常完美 (2009)


It's somewhat a rarity to see a China production that goes for a favor of a contemporary, modern Hollywood-style romantic comedy. SOPHIE'S REVENGE is one of them, and you could say that is at least something of a refreshing change of pace for the China cinema. But on the other hand, the film is purely formulaic stuff -- it's derivative, exceptionally lightweight and awfully predictable that audiences have seen this kind of film countless times before. Yup, it's basically nothing new here. 

The plot, in the meantime, is an essential textbook romantic comedy formula: Sophie (Zhang Ziyi) is a talented cartoonist who has a successful career and definitely very good for what she does. Not only that, she has a perfect and handsome fiance, Jeff (So Ji-Sub), who works as a surgeon. However, her love life quickly nosedives when she has recently split with Jeff. While her mother (Ji Wang) is eagerly expecting a wedding, Sophie doesn't intend to tell her otherwise because she is determined to win Jeff back from his new love, a popular actress named Anna (Fan Bingbing) and in the meantime, coincides her quest by creating a new comic book she calls The Handbook of Love. When her best friends, Lucy (Ruby Lin) and Lily (Yao Chen) invite her out to a Halloween party to cheer her up, Sophie's moment of fun quickly dies down when she runs into Jeff and Anna. She feels upset and spends most of the night drowning her sorrows with alcohol. At the same time, she also runs into Gorden (Peter Ho), a photographer, who apparently has been recently dumped by Anna. Seeing this as a perfect opportunity to exact revenge, she quickly enlists his help and together, they team up to regain their ex-partners. Naturally, of course, what happens next doesn't look surprise at all. 
On the bright side, SOPHIE'S REVENGE proves to be an uplifting and enjoyable enough to watch for. The most evident of all is the vibrant production itself. Armando Salas's candy-colored cinematography is a feast of an eye, while Nathan Wang's swelling music really makes you groove along. The film's settings are beautifully upscale from places, people, cars and fashion -- that are so delightfully eye-catching that makes up the modern China you almost feel as if the entire film is taking place entirely on the New York's Upper West Side. 
The cast, in the meantime, is similarly vibrant especially for Zhang Ziyi herself. Often known for playing ice-cold dramatic characters she has been famous for all this while, it's a great chance to see her for a change of pace tackling a role that are both perky and lightweight. The result is admirable as Ziyi proves to be goofy and likable enough. It's also nice to see the bright side of hers, especially the way she smiles a lot in this film. On the other side, is Fan Bingbing, who is perfectly typecast as a diva-like beauty queen. But shame for the male cast, though: Korean drama star So Ji-Sub is handsome enough but his role is suffered from underwritten part and the fact that his acting is being dubbed doesn't help much either. As for Peter Ho, he is likable enough but little else. 
There are moments the film is trying to be innovative, particularly the one which involve several scenes with a combination of live-action and animated montage. 
Too bad the rest of the film suffers from an overdose of cheap gags and an auto-pilot direction that is little less inspired.

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