Hong Kong Digital
is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- associate
editor / film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author
of The Hong Kong Filmography.
Michelle Reis (Lee Kar-yan). Image courtesy Universe.
The beautiful Lok To (Michelle Monique Reis / Lee Kar-yan) mourns for her old love, Gala, who went off to Paris and has not gotten back in touch with her. One day, she finds a letter in her mailbox from Gala, stating that he has sent her 99 letters and that this will be the last one, as she has not bothered to reply. Her old penpal, Chanty (William So Wing-hong), moves into To's apartment building, along with his oddball Uncle Jet (Francis Ng Chun-yu), who discovers all of To's undelivered mail sitting inside his flat. A budding detective, Jet (a village chief who has relocated to the big city) comes up with a cunning plan to get To and Gala together. Having learned that the two used to work together in a bakery, Jet asks To to help him set up his own shop, reasoning that Gala (who will be returning to HK for his mother's funeral) will eventually drop by out of curiosity. The Seven Day Bakery is a success, with To's plain but specially crafted bread selling out everyday.
William So Wing-hong (left) and Francis Ng Chun-yu (right). Image courtesy Universe.
Naturally, the more time Jet spends with To, the more he wishes that Gala (Conroy Chan Chi-chung, who looks and acts so much like Terence Yin Chi-wei, one wonders why the producers didn't just hire him instead) will never come back. However, return he does, and To is soon presented with an expensive ring. What Gala doesn't mention is that he already has a girlfriend, Ching-wai (CLEAN MY NAME, MR. CORONER's Stephanie Che Yuen-yuen), and this leads to a tangled situation.
Conroy Chan Chi-chung (left) and Michelle Reis (right). Image courtesy Universe.
Actually, tangled does not begin to cover it. Someone decided along the way that the simple (albeit, decidedly unlikely) love story between Jet and To was insufficient to build a movie around. So, there is not only the conflict that arises with the arrival of Gala but we also get his troubled relationship with Ching-wai, a lovesick Chanty's attempts to court Ching-wai, one character backing away to make way for another, a different character doing the same thing for another, and on and on. All of this would provide the basis for a good screwball comedy but BAKERY AMOUR takes itself seriously for much of the running time and just ends up seeming cluttered and contrived. The ending is especially tired. Director Steven Lo Kit-sing (THE TRAGIC FANTASY: TIGER OF WANCHAI) keeps the visuals low-key but attractive, though the inclusion of some English language pop songs was a less than inspired idea. Thankfully, Francis Ng and Michelle Reis are both quite appealing, and the romantic angle and village sequences are pleasantly reminiscent of the more successful NOW YOU SEE LOVE, NOW YOU DON'T (which re-teamed HK TV's favorite couple of the 80s, Chow Yun-fat and Carol Cheng Yiu-ling). Helena Law Lan has a good supporting part as Jet's daffy, Hakka-speaking grandmother.
Francis Ng. Image courtesy Universe.
Stephanie Che Yuen-yuen. Image courtesy Universe.