Fantasia 2012: ‘Love in the Buff’ is fluffy, puffy stuff
Directed by Pang Ho-Cheung
Written by Pang Ho-Cheung, Luk Yee-sum. Jody Luk
Hong Kong, 2012
One of the few films to be presented in 35mm at this year’s festival, Love in the Buff (which, in the film’s title card, really really looks like Love in the Butt) is a sequel which reunites the two main lovers of the first instalment, Jimmy (Shaun Yue) and Cherrie (Merriam Yeung), whose relationship is on the rocks. Early on the in the film Cherrie, who finds Jimmy’s slow maturation process into adulthood insufferable, decides to call it quits. A new job takes her from Hong Kong to Beijing, where new opportunities of love await. Things get sticky, after having met someone, when Jimmy is also relocated to Beijing for employment. Even though each has found a new companion, fate sees that they stumble upon each other, and old feelings rear their heads…
Readers should note that this movie reviewer has not seen the first film, Love in a Puff, but the manner in which characters are presented in this film, it never feels like a prerequisite. Pretty much anybody can catch Love in the Buff and understand who is who and what everyone is doing. Pang Ho-Cheung brings audiences what feels apt to describe as ‘love in the fluff.’ There is nothing inherently wrong with the picture. Some elements are really quite stellar in fact, such as Shaun Yue, who gives an appropriately comedic and human performance. His Jimmy is in a state of arrested development, but not so much that no one would understand why woman would desire him. Simultaneously Measured and entertaining, if you will. The picture, like so many others of the same ilk, meanders between comedy and drama, with the latter half putting the most emphasis on those frustrating yet always inevitable conversations as to why people fall in and out of love, and what happens when two people who thought they had fallen out get the sense that both may still be very much in love. There are some terrific moments, most of which occur once the two protagonists arrive at the realization that regardless of what led their bond astray in the past, the two share an unshakable connectivity. The film reserves very few surprises, although it will undoubtedly satisfy movie goers are enjoy this type of story. It is rarely uproariously funny, just as it is rarely incredibly profound. It basically gets the job done, no more and no less. The real shame is that for all its efforts in trying to be funny throughout the picture, the clear cut winner of ‘funniest scene’ is during the end credits, which leaves somewhat of a bad taste in one’s mouth, like a bad joke.
– Edgar Chaput