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Movie review: 'If You Are the One 2'

A May-December romance that started in the first movie moves to a matrimonial phase in this sequel. The Chinese film has a gorgeous setting and a mildly charming plot.

December 24, 2010|By Robert Abele, Special to the Los Angeles Times

A sequel to one of China's biggest box office hits, the wry romantic comedy "Fei Cheng Wu Rao 2" ("If You Are the One 2") — the first Chinese release to open in its homeland and North America on the same day — continues the odd-couple courtship saga of wealthy, middle-aged retiree Qin Fen (Ge You) and serious-minded young air hostess Xiaoxiao (Shu Qi).

After an amusing prelude in which Qin presides over a lavish divorce ceremony for an amicably splitting married couple, he and Xiaoxiao decide to address their own relationship barriers — her youth and beauty, his cynical, childish sense of humor — by entering into a trial marriage while on a trip to the country's tropical southeast.

Director/co-writer Feng Xiaogang's approach to this kind of screwball material is more unhurriedly funny and even melancholic than openly farcical, which is fine, but by setting their hiccupy test-run in Hainan province's verdant and beachy Shimei Bay, one could be forgiven for briefly losing interest amid the ravishingly photographed (by Lu Yue) vacation-vista porn.

Less successfully distracting is a drawn-out second-half subplot involving the health problems of a friend of Qin's. But for the most part this is a mildly charming dose of romantic gloss, anchored well by its appealing stars and the filmmaker's gentle touch with the inevitable quirks in a seemingly mismatched relationship.

Box office: 'Fei Cheng Wu Rao 2' ('If You Are the One 2')

Unrated; In Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles

Running time: 2 hours, 3 minutes

Playing: In selected theaters

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