Yesterday Once More
Hong Kong 2004
Directed by Johnnie To.

Johnnie To once again pairs Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng together for a romantic comedy. They've got great chemistry, as usual. This time they are a married couple of wealthy kleptomaniacs who love to steal things together. They divorce one day after arguing over dividing up the spoils, and she decides to marry a rich businessman with the hopes of stealing his mother's heirloom necklace. This slow paced production works best whenever Sammi and Andy share the screen together, and their personalities emerge through their interaction. Sammi is constantly frustrated because he always wins, yet we can observe how she always wants to go for the long odds and the chance to win big (and so keeps losing), while he goes for the best odds and a smaller win (and keeps winning). Unfortunately, a possible terminal disease subplot is clumsily introduced halfway through the picture, and the story becomes tiringly familiar. There are other problems as well. A couple of private detectives are introduced as comedic relief, then dropped, their story unresolved. A visit by the main characters to Udine, Italy, site of the Far East Film festival, makes no sense except as an ingratiating response to the fest's reverence of his previous works. The ending is profoundly unsatisfying. The negatives stack up pretty high, but Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng have enough talent and charisma to keep the whole thing from crashing down.

Rating: Marginally Recommended (Marginally Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on January 29, 2005.

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