@ 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival
Director Pang Ho-Cheung managed to deliver yet another piece of gem. Love in the Buff, a carry-on of the entertaining Love with a Puff deals with modern romance with an ingenious manner, excellent script, decent chemistry and a believable story. Pang in this film transform into the serial modern dating expert Patrick Kong. While Kong can write a good story about modern relationships and its dynamics and how love generally sucks, Pang out-dux his counterpart by being able to tell the story better on the big screen. Pang talks about similar issues, but what he is able to do in one film, Mr. Kong requires 10. Let's not get too big- headed, as this is by no means a perfect movie. The flaws of the Miriam Yeung-Shawn Yue combo are still questionable at best and despite some improvement, the chemistry is at best decent. However, the film works despite the lack of smoking sequences and relies strongly on the likable presence of Miriam Yeung, the irresistibly hot Mini Yang and as per usual sharp and clever direction from the unmistakable Pang.
Miriam Yeung is really a hit and misses. No manner how much she tries to act, she is just not on the same caliber as let's say Sammi Cheng. Still, Yeung is always a cheerful and likable character no matter how you put it. She is a genuine crowd pleaser and possesses an air of on- screen presence that carries the audience through the movie. The real problem of the film lies in Shawn Yue's character, ever since I praised him with potential in his small role in Jiang Hu, Yue has stalemated to the point of delivering predictable stoic performances. It is a shame as the real star of the movie is not the central character, but rather their younger counterpart delivering a winning performance. Mini Yang is able to depict and show the emotions of a naive girl in love with a guy where his heart buried within his own history. Yang is a perfect combination of hot, sexy and cute and when you add some acting chops to the mix, you got an actress around the corner.
All in all, Love in the Buff is really a good movie, but relies more on Pang's quality script writing, perfect song selections, sharp editing than on the actual acting itself. The good news is that there are plenty of laughs, funny moments, romantic tones and enough regrets to get the audience involved in the process. It is rare a film can overshadow the actors' performances, and not unlike Wong Kar Wai, Pang is able to do this. Still, Love in the Buff could have easily been better; casting Yue-Yeung combo lacks the required chemistry to make this film truly successful. On the hand, in terms of sequels it is twice the rarity that the second film is better than the prior and in this respect, Buff easily out-dux Puff. Now that's an achievement. A good film, but just not great?
Neo rates it 7.5/10