ReviewWriter: Ng SuzhenWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
Forgettable would be the word used to describe the much lauded Patrick Kong's romantic movie of the year. Inspired by true events headlining Hong Kong's news about a girl hassling her ex-boyfriend, "Natural Born Lovers" fails to focus on the core issue of how destructive the possessive nature of a girlfriend can be.
While the movie has its funny moments, the plot at times provides unnecessary add-ons to main character Tailam's (Cheung Chi Lam) back story. When he first sets eyes on nurse Meibo (Annie Liu), she appears blurred in Tailam's vision for a few seconds before clarity, convincing the pastry chef that this was the girl for him. What he doesn't foresee, is the nightmare that would follow once the two got together.
While the audience would look forward to the potential abuse Meibo would unleash upon Tailam, it is disappointing to note that nothing seem to stand out. Meibo turns out to be a two-dimensional character that is only able to perform possessiveness at an amateur level. Meibo may annoy but she doesn't really scare. Even more baffling is her sudden proficiency in Mandarin halfway through the movie, switching between Cantonese dialogues at her whim and fancy.
However, the decision to downplay the exaggeration normally found in Hong Kong comedies might have stemmed from director Kong's reputation of making movies as close to real life as possible. Instead of placing the said hyperbole on the main characters, he unleashes it on Tailam's three sisters and brothers-in-law instead, allowing them to play stereotypical cheating husbands to extremely iron-fisted wives.
One can't help but question the emergence of many female characters in the movie, except to probably provide Tailam with a bevy of babes who don't even seem to be much of a threat, save for one or two characters. It is also puzzling that Meibo's jealousy doesn't seem to be consistent. For example, Meibo would get extremely jealous of a pretty girl who spends time with Tailam, but yet seems completely okay with four beautiful ladies, who happen to be his students at the bakery, working with him every single day.
The only saving grace of the movie is Cheung Chi Lam's performance as Tailam. The conception of the character should not work with the audience, but Cheung manages to pull it off, making him believable. By the second half of the movie, Cheung would be the only reason for audiences to continue the movie as much like Tailam's momentary blurred vision for Meibo, the plot starts to blur as well. There is not much interest left in rooting for a happy ending for the couple, even with the ho-hum twist that the pair has much more in common than initially thought. That revelation, while meant to be an interesting factor in the movie, does not really provide any further insight for those who are still following the plot.
If Kong is looking to create a formidable female character for his movie, maybe he should try taking a leaf from Fiona Sit's character in "La Comedie Humaine". Now, that is real trauma for a boyfriend.Cinema Online, 25 October 2012