Mr & Mrs Single

    In Mr & Mrs Single, Eason Chan plays Huo Caiguo, a loving husband but somewhat underachieving man who fortuitously snags a job as an assistant to Mandy (Rene Liu), the CEO of a perfume company. Ordinarily someone with his temperament and lack of experience will not get a job like this, but he edges out the competition by conforming to Mandy`s one specific requirement: that he`s single. Or so Mandy thinks, as Caiguo continues to lie about his marital status.

    Gradually, Mandy starts getting fond of Caiguo, and this eventually blossoms into romantic feelings. Conversely, as Caiguo`s wife Jingyi (Bai Bing) finds out that he has been lying about being married, marital tensions flare and an hour`s worth of endless arguing ensues.

    The characters are uninteresting and unlikeable. Mandy is a horrible caricature of a single woman, driven to mean streaks by her own loneliness and resentment after being spurned by a former lover. Caiguo is an annoyingly indecisive man who, by sitting idly watching his boss manipulate him and subsequently fall for him, does not help his gradually imploding marriage one bit. Jingyi is his one note, overbearing wife who shows little trust for her husband; the only way she can be placated is by Caiguo showering gifts on her, which is ironically funded by his high-paying job, and yet for some reason she eventually gets round to berating him over and over again.

    The movie strives to be a commentary on the Chinese social phenomenon of secret marriages for young couples looking for better jobs and higher income, but its non-committal plot blunts its very own intention. Trying to mine laughs very unsuccessfully, we may add out of weird things like Jingyi`s friend who dispenses marriage advice, actually downplays the seriousness of the problem. How is what she says about marriage supposed to hold any weight when the director Patrick Kong tries so hard to make her look absolutely nutty and ludicrous?

    And oscillating between farce and melodrama, the movie becomes such a hyperbolic endeavour that you do not really know when to take it seriously.

    It only shows that Kong is not sure whether he wants the film to be a sincere portrait of a man struggling between his job and his wife or whether it just wants to be a fluffy romantic comedy (which is not particularly romantic). The result? He achieves neither.

    Summary: Shoddily written with absolutely pedestrian storytelling. With few genuinely funny moments, it is painfully boring at 100 minutes. A pity, because the cast`s performance is actually decent.

      Raymond Tan