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Review by Neo: Let's be honest, Marriage with a Fool was basically a movie filled with music videos and Love is Not All Around is wholly average looking movie at best. So why is there always so much excitement whenever a Stephy Tang and Alex Fong movie is out? It beats me, but then again, having just viewed this movie last week at the cinemas, Neo should be shutting his mouth. Director Patrick Kong should be feeling slightly better in his latest accomplishment and luckily L for Love and L for Lies, is easily his best work to date. It is without question that Alex and Stephy have as much chemistry together as Andy and Sammi, but what makes this flick better than the previous two attempts, is the better story, additional elements of realism and some moments of actual attempts at acting. While, this is certainly not within the standard of Johnny To and will not win any awards, except for Worst Film Title and Longest Film Title of the Year (along with Beauty and the 7 Beast), Kong's latest effort is a worthy entry into 2008 HK Cinema.
What makes this film different is the extra element of realism that Kong seems to inject. Playing along with the same theme that have been reoccurring in the series, that people are not what you think they are, Kong adds the issue of timing. It goes back to this website favourite cliché, its no good, meeting the right person at the wrong place and at the wrong time.
Alex Fong actually attempts to act and while he seems to be walking around looking as cool as Andy Lau for a good three quarter of the movie, Fong gets down to his deepest emotions in the final sequences. In fact, Alex actually wears the same suit Andy Lau have been promoting for the last decade, but some credit must be given for the young lad for trying out such a big shoes to fill. There is no question that Fong have some degree of potential and that was easily explained in the promising and probably the best HK movie ever about romance in post-modern era, I'll Call You. From there, his career has derailed one step further from his potential at a rapid pace. So it is always good to see someone climbing back on the tracks.
Moving on to Stephy, it without question that Neo adore her, and the good news, her acting is improving. She goes from being a bitchy type of character in her previous films to a truly innocent, softly spoken young girl. It is tough to imagine, Stephy as one, as after all, it is the same image Gillian have been trying to built for the last 7 years. Alice Tzeng from the Jay Chow's Secret fame is surprisingly effective as an ambitious young girl who strives for her goals without any remorse or consequential consideration. Tzeng is a highlight and provides some good acting chops in a reverse of a role from her acclaimed innocence in Secret. Miki Yeung is getting prettier and Neo is drooling. Nice hair style by the way. TVB star Leila Tong expresses the notion that everything happens for a reason and when she finally realise that the person she is looking for is the person that have always been beside her, the timing was already too late.
It is funny how much appeal the pairing of Alex and Stephy have on the new generation, maybe you can blame it on the record companies or the Karaoke, but really they are the Andy and Sammi to the Gen X and Y. It is rather unfortunate that the movie did not just stop and finish with Alex Fong bleeding on the street just moments away from Stephy and Terry. Instead, Kong have use his trademark cliché of some wanna-be smart ending, which actually do more harm than good. Luckily, on the whole, L for Love and L for Lies, is a highly enjoyable film, which for any sake, it is really an achievement in itself. People may complaint about the movie over exaggerating the realism aspects, but at the very least, the movie tries hard to stay real, rather than being cloying and cliché. Yes, this flick is perhaps a tad too pessimistic, but sometimes life is like that, without giving you too much hope, there will always be exceptions. Then again as an old friend used to say, It's too bad (Neo 2008)
I rate it 7.5/10
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