Love Me, Love My Money

When did Wong Jing begin going soft? Everyone loses their edge eventually I suppose, but it is sad seeing it happen to the man who gave tasteless and outlandish fare a respectable name. Of course Wong Jing has also been one as likely to follow a trend as to create one and these days romantic comedies are the big thing in Hong Kong. Earlier in the year (2001) he teamed up Leon Lai and Cecilia Cheung in Everyday is Valentine and now he has thrown together Tony Leung Chiu-wai and the effervescent Hsu Chi in an attempt to cash in on the latest fad. Though Everyday had some middling appeal (HK$10MM), Love Me falls short of both inspiration and box office draw (HK$4.6MM).
It takes a while to realize just how limp this film is because of the pleasures derived by simply watching Tony and Hsu Chi in action. Both are seamlessly attractive and ooze a genial dewy charm that appears to be almost effortless. So it is very easy to lay back and wait for the inevitable to happen – meet cute, fall in love, fight and reconcile – and take a certain satisfaction from it. Sure its basic eye candy – but without a doubt high quality eye candy – the Godiva of eye candy. And it looks so good to eat that you are half way through it before you realize that something is missing from this gooey looking chocolate – a script that is neither very amusing nor very romantic. It’s not for lack of trying from the two main stars but they are saddled with a script that that would have sunk the English fleet at Trafalgar. The plot outline certainly seems to give the opportunity to have some fun with but the dots are never connected with the appropriate dashes.
Tony, Hsu Chi, Wong Yat Fei and Lam Ka Tung
Tony plays an extremely wealthy businessman who is tighter with a dollar than a nouvelle upper eastside eatery is with their entrée. His cheapness causes his entire staff and his girlfriend to leave him on the same day – and his girlfriend decides to donate his furniture to goodwill and to cancel his credit cards. Hsu Chi and her friend, Teresa Mak, see him accepting money from an old girlfriend – now pregnant  - and jump to the obvious conclusion that he must be a gigolo. It just so happens that Hsu Chi needs to show a boyfriend to her father, Wong Yat Fei, and who better than a gigolo she can hire – shades of Boys are Easy! Tony finds the fact that they think he earns his money by pleasing women rather a compliment and he goes along with their mistaken impressions  - and in his circumstances he can also use the money. Of course romance comes a calling but Tony continues the deception because it is so refreshing to have a woman loving him for himself and not for his money. Angie Cheung has a cameo as a seductive therapist and Lam Ka Tung plays Tony's friend.
Hsu Chi and Teresa Mak
Its not that the film is difficult to get through – I would stay to watch Hsu Chi smile and pout during a tropical hurricane  - and Tony is rather fun in this role as a miserly tightwad – but where is the craziness, the loopiness, the it makes no sense but who cares that one use to associate with Wong Jing. He plays it much too safe here and ends up with a run of the mill romantic comedy that is as forgettable as a politician’s promise.
Tony and Angie Cheung

My rating for this film: 6.0