Breakup Buddies

By Diane Carol Harder

Mailed on September 07, 2014

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Dear TIFF,

I really didn't know what to expect when I saw this Chinese buddy road trip movie on the TIFFF programming list. But, recovering from a recent break-up myself, I was game.

I can see why the stars, Bo Huang and Zheng Xu, are such a big deal in China; they're both pretty hilarious, and have good chemistry (first honed when they starred together in Lost in Thailand). What could have been a run-of-the-mill buddy comedy had some interesting twists, and a parallel narrative structure to make the divorce that instigates the story all the more poignant in the end.

My only real complaint is that the subtitles were too fast; there’s so much witty banter, but I was only able to catch every second or third line. Some of the story beats relayed by onscreen text (emails, text messages, etc.) weren’t translated, either. Overall, though, I found myself laughing a lot more than I thought I would, and found myself enjoying this fresh and unexpected side of Chinese cinema.

It was also a soothing balm to my own broken heart.

Diane Carol Harder

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