Herbal Tea
Hong Kong 2004
Directed by Herman Yau.

Herman Yau directs this uninspired oddball romance about a girl (Candy Lo) who runs an herbal tea cafe, and has ever since her elderly parents passed away when she was very young. She never leaves the neighborhood, and helps everyone in need. She is surrounded by people who care for her, including a womanizing young waiter (Patrick Tang) who dreams of being a sumo wrestler, and an elderly calligrapher (Spencer Lam) who owns the shop across the street. When she rents out her flat to a frequently out-of-work stuntman (Jordan Chan), a romance eventually blossoms. Candy Lo is naturally appealing, yet her character here is overdrawn at the quirky bank; character traits such as driving her moped around town and shouting to release tension are silly in the extreme. Meanwhile, she and Jordan Chan are unable to produce any chemistry, and in fact Chan seems to be playing his character as a closet homosexual most of the time. The film never quite strikes a real, honest note, except once, when Chan and Lo are watching Chan's movie collection and he is pointing out his stunt turns -- at one point, he cues up Chow Yun-Fat flying across the screen, guns blazing. "You see that?" He says, freezing the frame. "That's the back of my head." If the rest of the film was like that scene, it would have been a winner.

Rating: Not Recommended (Not Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on October 26, 2004.

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