Sha Guo will write treatments for just about every sort of contemporary Chinese
film a doofus character such as himself might appear in. There will be romantic
comedy, tragedy, compulsive social networking, and a surprisingly credible
haunting. Still, the big question will be whether he gets the girl or the dog,
or both, or neither in director-screenwriter Gu Chang-wei’s Love on the Cloud (trailer here) which is now playing in New York.
Guo and his buddies, aspiring cinematographer Ma Dai and would be matinee
idol-producer Huang Xaigang, the so-called “Three Dreamers” have just reeled in
an investor for their first film, Living
with the Werewolf. Ms. Ma the beef magnate just wants a couple script
revisions: product placement for her Little Bull company. No problem, they can
do that. In this case, “they” means Sha Guo. After a hard session of rewriting,
he hits the social media apps looking for a hook-up. Instead, up-and-coming
auto-show model Chen Xi exploits his “Sad Shar Pei” handle, suckering him into
dog-sitting her furrowed browed Mo Chou. Of course, he agrees, hoping it will
lead to bigger and hotter things. However, both Chen Xi’s dog-sitting and Ms.
Ma’s rewrites will become a constant in his increasingly frustrated life.
its title and genre, HK film fans might assume Love on the Cloud is the next installment in Pang Ho-cheung’s Love in a Puff-Love in the Buff series,
but Cherie Yu and Jimmy Cheung will not be breaking up and getting back
together again, at least not right now. Cloud
is actually Beijing-set and Mainland produced, featuring a star turn from
Angelababy. About a billion people already knew the model-turned-actress was a
star, but with Cloud she successfully
transitions from perky teen roles (Love in Space, All’s Well Ends Well 2010 and 2011) to a legit romantic lead. She smokes up the screen and leaves
poor Michael Chen and his hapless Sha Guo looking small and deflated on-screen.
when he is satirizing the Chinese film business with the other two Dreamers,
Chen is a good sport, keeping the material remarkably grounded, all things
considered, by minimizing the shtick and the mugging. In fact, the entire cast
earns props because Gu throws the kitchen sink at them, but never wastes much
time on dry, boring transitions. Frankly, it is hard to believe how much of the
film works. Even the horror movie segments, necessitated by another batch of
rewrites for Ms. Ma, are actually sort of creepy and very true to genre
is radiant throughout Cloud and Chen
keeps plugging away, but good old Mo Chou just sort of steals the picture
rather effortlessly. The camera loves the Shar Pei, but he never resorts to
cheap tricks to look cute. So yes, give the dog credit for subtlety of his
performance (would it be going too far to compare him favorably with Meryl
Streep’s excessive theatrics in Ossage
County? It’d be true.) Regardless, there are enough laughs mixed with
Angelababy’s glamour and Mo Chou’s furry charm to keep Cloud chugging along at a good clip. Recommended for those who like
a good doggie rom-com with a little bit of an edge, Love on the Cloud is now playing in New York at the AMC Empire.
Labels: Angelababy, Chinese Cinema, Dog movies, Movie Romance