Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
A Wedding Invitation: A Korean and Chinese Rom Com Production Marriage
means never having to ask: “where have you been for the last five years?” When dumping Li Xing, He Qaio Qaio thought
they needed time to establish their careers.
If they were still single five years later, they should get married at
that point. However, a lot can happen in
five years, including his eleventh hour engagement to the boss’s daughter. As you might have guessed, He will try to win
back her soul mate in Oh Ki-hwan’s A
Wedding Invitation (trailer
opens this Friday in New York.
you probably think you have seen this film before, just with a less attractive
cast. He Qaio Qaio does indeed travel to
Beijing, ostensibly to celebrate Li Xing’s wedding, but really with the intent
to seduce and disrupt. She even enlists
her gay best friend to pretend to be her lover, in hopes of making Li Xing
jealous. Oh, but not so fast. In its third act, Invitation veers into three hanky territory, doing what commercial South
Korean cinema does best.
if you want to enjoy the guilty pleasure of a weepy melodrama, you have to look
east. Hollywood does not do Affairs to Remember anymore. Everything has to be ironic or quirky these
days. A Multinational co-production, Wedding features a Mainland and
Taiwanese cast and a largely Korean crew on the other side of the camera.
is a division of labor that works relatively well. As He, the luminous Bai Bai-he is initially
exasperating in the Julia Roberts portion of the film and then heartbreaking in
the Il Mare-esque conclusion. Although Eddie Peng is no stranger to the rom-com
genre (having been totally overshadowed by Shu Qi in Doze Niu’s Love, for instance), he really comes
into his own with his work as Li Xing.
While suitably earnest, there is also an edge to his Top Chef contending leading man turn. Pace Wu (a.k.a. We Pei Ci) does not get much
dramatic heavy lifting, but she is far more charismatic than comparably inconvenient
fiancées in rom-coms past.
In the opening screwball section, viewers are
likely to wince at the flat-footed He, but down the stretch they are guaranteed
to get a little misty-eyed for her.
Sure, that is all very manipulative, but audiences will feel like they
have been through a lot with these characters.
Oh, the rom com specialist, deftly manages the frequent flashbacks and
keeps the proceedings pleasantly pacey.
Recommended for those not afraid of a little sentiment (or a lot), A Wedding Invitation opens this Friday
(5/24) at the AMC Empire in New York and the AMC Metreon in San Francisco.
Labels: Bai Bai-he, Eddie Peng