Genre:Romance/Comedy Director: Seven Wong Cast: Ella Chen, Mike Ho, Fang Zhi You, Jack Kao, Bi Xiao Hai, Pan Li-li, Chris Wang, Kitamura Toyoharu RunTime: 1 hr 34 mins Rating: PG Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & Scorpio East Pictures Official Website: Opening Day:31 May 2012
Synopsis: Bad Girls is a youthful romantic comedy about a high school girl Dan (Ella Chen) who has a chivalrous personality. She and her two best friends form a girl group called ‘Bad Girls’ in school to fight bullies. One day, a filming crew borrows Dan’s school to film a romantic movie. The male lead, Justin (Mike Ho) is a popular idol and the girls in school are going crazy over him. Dan is chosen as the female lead, starring opposite the arrogant Justin. Curious about Justin, Dan tries to find out more about him. But unknown to her and the others, Justin buries a dark secret deep within him. The filming of this odd pair continues, brewing up a whole lot of hilarious episodes. Will Justin finally let down his guard and reveal his secret to Dan? How will Dan be able to overcome the challenges placed in front of her? Feel the lighthearted love as romance blossoms this summer!
In 2001, Taiwanese girl group S.H.E. was formed by Selina Jen, Hebe Tien and Ella Chen, three girls with very different on screen personalities. The group gave the Chinese pop music industry a much needed breath of fresh air, and if it isn’t clear enough to you, the music label which signed them on had used the girls’ alphabetism to function as the name of the group. Some 10 years have passed, and if you are familiar with the Chinese entertainment industry, you’d know how each of the girls has moved on to different paths in their careers. Here, Chen is starring in her second feature film (the first being Kevin Chu’s New Perfect Two earlier released this year), and will fans get to see an improvement in the role she’s cast in?
Taiwanese filmmaker Seven Wong directs Chen in a romantic comedy about a girl (Chen) who is, well, bad (as suggested by the movie title – duh). Always the one to count on to fight off bullies, our protagonist is never regarded someone who is graceful and ladylike. Call it fate if you want, a film crew drops by her school to shoot a romance movie, and before you can spell “c-o-i-n-c-i-d-e-n-c-e”, the rowdy girl lands herself as the female lead of the production. And will there be love blossoming between her and the handsome male lead? You bet!
Fans who are familiar with Chen’s persona will know that she is the “tomboy” of S.H.E. (even her vocals are deeper than her group mates), so it is natural that viewers find her easing comfortably into her latest big screen role. So here we were, sitting through the 94 minute movie, trying very hard to like it. After all, there’s nothing some fluff and sweet romance can’t do for our highly stressful urban lifestyles.
Unfortunately, the movie turns out to be a dreary and overlong affair, with frequent moments where we wondered where the plot was heading. To be fair, the movie starts off promising enough, where director Wong employs cutesy animation and dramatic setups to tell his story. Before long, this tactic turns out to be a seemingly directionless attempt to chalk up screen time.
The movie plods along, churning out one predictable episode after another, hoping to milk some laughs from its audience. The result is a feature film which feels like a stretched idol drama (one that features good looking people, good looking backdrops and commendable production values). While fans of Chen would be suitably pleased, the romantic comedy is still one that doesn’t work.
It is evident that Chen is giving her best in her first leading role (her involvement in New Perfect Two was negligent at best) to make the movie work, but a somewhat disinterested looking Mike Ho doesn’t help. The mesmerising Ho is known for his charming looks, but his performance here (intentional or not) just doesn’t make the cut. The inconsequential supporting characters played by Taiwanese actors like Fang Zhi You, Jack Kao and Bi Xiao Hai also do not leave an impression. Try as hard as the filmmakers might to conjure a comedy, but the jokes mostly fall flat.
If there’s one thing we love about the movie, it has to be the picturesque sceneries captured on film. They have successfully made us want to visit the locations where the movie was filmed, but hoping not to meet similar characters along the way.
(A good looking movie that doesn’t work as the intended romantic comedy)