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Wu San Gui yu Chen Yuan Yuan (1992)

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When Chan comes to Vancouver to be with his wife, he finds her sleeping with a local cop, as well as discovering that the deed to his house has been sold. Devastated, he wanders the streets... See full summary »

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Title: Wu San Gui yu Chen Yuan Yuan (1992)

Wu San Gui yu Chen Yuan Yuan (1992) on IMDb 6/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
Carol 'Do Do' Cheng ...
Ng Sam Kwai
Lawrence Cheng ...
Chan Tai Yuen
Wai Yee Chan
Yuk-Mui Yeung
Dik Man Chan
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Storyline

When Chan comes to Vancouver to be with his wife, he finds her sleeping with a local cop, as well as discovering that the deed to his house has been sold. Devastated, he wanders the streets, and is eventually helped by a no-nonsense woman who is the sister of Chan's high-school friend. The two start an odd romance, which is periodically interrupted by the ghost of Chan's friend. Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Comedy | Romance

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Release Date:

10 January 1992 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Neverending Summer  »

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User Reviews

 
Very funny and charming romantic-comedy
4 July 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Never Ending Summer, or Wu San Gui yu Chen Yuan Yuan, is a Chinese and Canadian produced romantic-comedy filmed in Vancouver. It stars Lawrence and Carol "Do Do" Cheng, who appear to be husband and wife offscreen. They've starred in at least eight films together. Lawrence also directed and co-wrote with Chan Hing Ka and Chan Kin Chung. This appears to be one of his first directorial efforts.

Lawrence plays Chan Tai Yuen. He's a conservative accountant who has just come from China to Vancouver, where his wife has been living in a nice home that Chan purchased. He arrives unexpectedly--he plans on surprising her. She ends up having a bigger surprise for him, as she's been living with a Canadian police officer. Suddenly, Chan finds himself out on the street. The home and the nice new car he purchased were both put into his wife's name. He has nowhere to go. So he calls an old friend from school who had previously emigrated to Canada. It turns out that the friend has passed away, but Chan leaves a message with the friend's sister, whom he had never met before, basically pleading for assistance.

The sister, Ng Sam Kwai (Carol Cheng), is quite a character. She's an overgrown tomboy who has been "running" Vancouver's Chinatown almost like a mob boss, although in truth she just rents and runs a laundry. Still, she has the respect usually associated with a mob boss, and she even has two male thugs who stick close by her side. One is gay and the other is a bit dweebish, and neither fights particularly well, but they're "thugs" nevertheless.

Chan won't stay with the gay one and the dweeb doesn't have room, so Ng ends up housing Chan, whom she keeps calling "Chan Yuen Yuen", at her place. They seem more like college dorm-mates at first, but eventually a romance tries to blossom, even if it is initially fueled by Chinatown gossip. Ng is a lot more interested than Chan is; Chan is rather chasing after a very rich woman whom he first encountered on the flight from China. But Chan eventually notices Ng. Can two people who are so unalike have a successful romance? Besides a very slight twinge of directorial clunkiness--probably just due to Lawrence's relative inexperience at the helm at that time--Never Ending Summer is just as funny and heartwarming as many of the best romantic-comedies from any country. Plus it even has a great philosophical subtext about the merits, or rather lack of merits, of trying to change someone into something against their nature.

The main attraction is the humor. The first half hour to forty minutes is firmly in the "Going to Hell in a handbasket" genre. Things go from bad to worse for Chan, most of them extremely funny (so long as we're not the character going through the events). Although Lawrence is very capable at writing funny scenarios, what pushes the humor over the edge is his performance. He has a great, mellow, unprepossessing demeanor that works well against the increasingly disastrous Hell handbasket events occurring all around him. It also works well against the more over-the-top performance of Carol.

By the midway point, the descent to Hell in a handbasket has paused, and Lawrence settles in to a more familiar romantic-comedy groove, but none the worse for that. Very funny scenarios continue to happen by the minute, often with a slight "arthouse", surreal or fantastic edge (but still never far removed from realism).

Although Carol is more over-the-top, Ng grows increasingly likable from the audience's perspective, too, providing a nice parallel to Chan's perspective in the story. As a writer and director, Lawrence is able to slyly turn our hopes and expectations around. At first, most of the audience will probably be rooting for Chan to get together with another woman, but eventually, we find ourselves realizing that Chan and Ng are the right pairing. The ending of the film, complete with a man who is mistaken (or not) as a saint who has appeared to give much-needed guidance, is extremely well realized, even if it's not as funny as what has preceded it.

All of the technical elements are well done, even if some, such as the music, seem pretty firmly mired in a 1980s western style seen through a Chinese perspective. For me, that gave the music a kind of otherworldly added charm.

If you're a fan of romantic-comedies, this is a relatively little-known gem that's worth checking out. An English-language subtitled DVD is available on the Media Asia label. If you've not seen a lot of romantic-comedies, it may be safer to watch more of the classics of the genre filmed in your native language first.


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