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Love in the Buff - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Chun giu yu chi ming

Hong Kong 2012

Romance, Comedy, Drama

Pang Ho-Cheung

Miriam Yeung
Shawn Yue
Mini Yang
Zheng Xu
Isabel Chan Yat-Ning
Roy Szeto
June Lam
Kristal Tin
Jo Kuk
Vincent Kok
Huang Xiaoming
Ekin Cheng
Linda Wong

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Love in the Buff

Story: Jimmy (Shawn Yue) and Cherie (Miriam Yeung) are a couple for six month already, but slowly the first problems start to arise in their relationship. Jimmy more often puts his work before Cherie and one day he even accepts a job offer in Beijing. The two break up. Months later Jimmy meets flight attendant You-you (Mini Yang) in Beijing and the two become a couple. Shortly after that Cherie is transfered to Beijing by her boss as well and by chance she meets her ex-boyfriend. Obviously the two have problems to let go and leave things in the past. Although Cherie sees someone new, the electrical engineer Sam (Zheng Xu), the two meet again. Sam wants a real relationship with Cherie, but waits for her decision, Jimmy on the other hand still hasn't matured and meets with Cherie behind the back of his new girlfriend. The two aren't good for each other's lives and yet they lack the strength to go their seperate paths for good.

Review: Director Pang Ho-Cheung is well known for his unusual movies, last but not least his socio-critical splatter movie "Deam Home". He is renowned for his versatility for quite some time already and now he delivers the sequel to his romance flick "Love in a Puff", which can be seen without any knowledge of the prequel, though. "Love in the Buff" is without a doubt Pang's most commercial film to date which naturally means that at certain points it lacks some of the profoundness of its prequel. Moreover, this is a romance after all, which in itself happen to be more perfunctory and lighthearted in nature. Under these circumstances it is astonishing that the movie will not just convince your regular fan of the genre. This is mainly the effort of two well written main characters.

Love in the Buff - Film Screenshot 11

However, events start with a very strange beginning, that has in store some odd shockers. This doesn't really fit into a romantic movie. But this isn't the last unbefitting decision of the director. Unfortunately, it's especially the Mainland Chinese who are incredibly open-minded and understanding. Sam is actually the perfect man, who thanks to this character drawing and his enormous patience with Cherie is absolutely not authentic. You-you on the other hand is a shallow girl, most likely a material one as well, who isn't even worth the screen time she gets. Apparently, the screenplay demanded someone Jimmy is more or less bound to. But that doesn't mean that there aren't one or two supporting characters that are implemented well. Cherie's two friends fall into this category for example.

Love in the Buff - Film Screenshot 12

"Love in the Buff" is more than anything else that entertaining because of its comedy. In a scene that is taken to the extremes of corniness Cherie's friend and a blind-date hold hands and you simply can't help but to laugh out loud. Also delivering quite some entertainment are the many details of the relationship between Jimmy and Cherie, which is so amusing because everyone will recognize one or two of those moments and some of the pecularities. What's drives the movie, accordingly, is the relationship of the couple, which actually isn't one anymore. Friends are betrayed and most importantly lies are targeted at oneself. Even though the two may be poison for each other, they can't live without one another. Actually, there would be only one "mature" decision to make, but Jimmy is just still a child, as he admits himself, and Cherie is a woman and thus apparently powerless when it comes to love.

Therefore, no one should expect real surprises or even a "mature" ending. Moreover, the movie also seems to lack any profound dialogues since it has been produced for the Mainland and therefore was victim to some restrictions. That's unfortunate because compared to its prequel "Love in the Buff" has somewhat lost its bite. Luckily, this is made up for by a nicely drawn relationship and the two actors. Miriam Yeung ("Dumplings") and Shawn Yue ("Motorway") are charming and full of flaws, especially Yeung carries the film on her shoulders. With the numerous cameo appearances of certain actors, who play themselves, Pang's work also constantly tears down the wall between reality and fiction.

Love in the Buff - Film Screenshot 13

Director Pang has shot his movie with a digital HD-handcamera, which has the advantage that the pictures are very nice to look at and at the same time they make the impression that we are more close to the events on screen. Especially Beijing's nightlife is captured very nicely and so it shows consistently that Jimmy and Cherie are strangers in China's capital city after all. Despite the aforementioned problems "Love in the Buff" is a surprisingly well achieved commercial romantic movie since it sheds light on the problems within a relationship in a very mature manner - especially the comparison between the present and the nostalgic clinging to the past - and in the process delivers some appealing comedy. Pang has therefore created a lighthearted film that carries with it the necessary charm and energy to simply entertain well.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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