Love Multiplication


Reviewed by: sukting

May 12, 2013

Rating: two

Foreword
Based on the novel 61 x 57 by Taiwanese writer, Wang Wen Hua, it explores the different attitudes 4 modern pairs of working singles have towards love and marriage. Is it romantic or sad? This is Lam Fung’s first China drama? How does he fare here?

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Chen Yi Rong as Lin Jin Hui
She is 30 years old and comes from a simple rural family. Her father is a civil servant while her mother is a primary school teacher. She is strictly disciplined since young. As the elder daughter, she leaves home after her university education. She dreams of meeting a romantic guy although she works as a boring remisier.
Her parents keep arranging dates for her till she grows sick of it. She cuts Ming Zheng out although they look like a perfect couple in the eyes of others. Kai is different, he doesn’t work systematically and this changes her lift. She becomes open and active – all her cells suddenly wake up overnight.
His betrayal gives her a hard blow. Her job also gives her another hit. Another disaster will be Ah Jin suffering from cancer. Even though she has an MBA, she finds difficulty surviving. She chooses to work in Hong Kong now. Can Kai change and be her last?
I find Chen Yi Rong looking too young for the role although she is in her thirties. Moreover, the bespectable look and childish voice do not help her much although she also attempts wearing business suits. She doesn’t look like a working professional.
It gives me the creeps when the rest call her “Jing Hui jie’ instead of ‘Jing Hui mei’. She looks younger than everyone of them! The way she reads the figures seem forced and deliberate. It can be so bad that I nearly quit watching midway.

2. Lam Fung as Xu Kai
Jing Hui has thought that he is older than her but he is only 26years old. He has rebellious blood in him and this is his desire for revolution. He comes from Hong Kong and he has countless creative ideas as an art director. He likes branded goods, watching movies and knows how to enjoy life. Woman is just another ornament to him. It is not a necessity but an option. Lee Sha is a cute girl which has high voltage level so he doesn’t need to be responsible to her.
He feels that Jing Hui has an innocent 8 year old soul in here. Just like his favourite drawing. He knows that she is the very serious type to look and not to play with. But she is like a magnet to make him to woo her earnestly for the first time. He is like a magician to provide her endless surprises. It is like exchanging something more than material needs. He wants to keep this feeling going.
However, he finds it hard to give up Li Sha and Jing Hui can’t tolerate his infidelity. He finally makes a choice to choose Jing Hui to leave a message in her recorder to tell her that he is true to her. Losing her has made him understand what he needs. He makes his first promise to make both of them blissful. They meet together in the MTR after she has seen his art book with them together as the cover. Lam Fung does his part well and it is a refreshing change for him in here as a Canossa.

3. Fong Chung Shun as Huang Ming Zheng
Ming Zheng is a 34 year old ABC. His parents migrate to the US when young and he grows up in a free environment. He still maintains Chinese customs. He is successful in his and hopesto get a suitable partner to have a happy family. He obliges having blind dates and doesn’t give up after many failures. His parents set up another date when he goes to Shanghai so he vows to be successful this time.
It is love at first sight for him when meeting Jing Hui. After a few coincidental meetings with her, he is sure that she is his one. He is capable at work but doesn’t know how to woo a woman. Although they are suitable in many areas, he fails as he is clumsy even though he makes plans. His uncle doesn’t seem to help him much at all. The first will be overcoming his fear of heights. Later, he makes the wrong phrase of asking if she wishes to be buried in his family graveyard. Jing Hui has tried to ignore these parts as she is satisfied with his conditions.
Yet, she feels that something lacks between them. Till she knows Kai, she has never known what passion is. Passion is a catalyst to make her love someone deeply. It is just common sense for her to be with Ming Zheng so she rejects him but he is unwilling to give up.
When he returns to the US, he gets to know Sophia through his parents. He knows that this is the end between him and Jing Hui. He has wanted to have a wife so he marries Sophia. Both have a happy life and he brings her back to China 2 years later. Fate makes him meet a sorrowful Jing Hui who just falls out of her. He feels indignant for her but the feeling now for her is different. He helps the two to patch up. Chung Shun is wooden in many other dramas but he is better in here. He looks the part as a successful businessman.

4. An Yi Xuan as Fan Li Sha
She is 23 years old and is easily attracted by new things. She hardly saves money and unknown to her as she is well protected by her family, she suffers from heart disease. Her parents own a furniture shop and have no control over this only daughter so they have to trouble Kai to look after her. Innocent and cheeky, she only wants to work freelance.
She works in Kai’s company and although she isn’t the model worker, she often has ideas and Kai is impressed. Both are close and have parted numerous times but she never feels that they have broken up as it is only temporary. Kai can’t leave her along due to her illness even though he is with the stubborn Jing Hui. She doesn’t mind this love triangle but feels that there is nothing wrong since she likes it.
It is the time when Kai decides to get out of her life to make her find out what the pain is. She decides to further her studies to forget the anguish when Kai manages to find a doctor to operate on her. She is quite impressive as the spoilt girl who only does whatever she likes. Its over the top acting again that I can hardly stomach.

5. Jiang Hua as Cheng Ling
She is Jing Hui’s friend who has many love relationships in the past so Jing Hui goes to her for advice. She has been with Kai in the past so she warns Jing Hui but she doesn’t listen. She even thinks that Ling is jealous of her! Two failed romances make her concentrate in her career till she meets Sheng Xiong again. Love rekindles between them but they have to get rid of Richard first.

6. Xu Zheng Xi as Wu Qiang Sen
He is a designer in Kai’s company who secretly likes Li Sha. He knows of her condition to give her an amulet but she thinks that it is from Kai. He takes good care of her but his love for her isn’t reciprocated.

7. Ah Jin
He is like a younger brother to Jing Hui. He works at the construction firm that Ming Zheng owns. He gets compensation when he is hurt during an assignment and likes this boss. He likes drawing to befriend Jing Wen. However, he dies of liver cancer before he can fulfill his dream as an artist.

8. Zhou Sheng Xiong by Jiang Bing Bing
He is Ling’s ex boyfriend and is Li Sha’s elder cousin. Ling has thought that he forsakes her when he fails to turn up for their date. In reality, he is injured in a car accident and has to walk with a limp later on. His parents lie to both of them – to her, they say that he doesn’t want to see her anymore while to him, they say that she despises his condition. It takes a long time to be together again. Knowing that her scandal affects her life, they migrate to US to start overseas.

9. Sophia by Feng Jing
Actually, she has hurt Ming Zheng by breaking up with him a long time ago when they are in England. He can’t believe that she can pretend that nothing has happened to go to him again. Her family introduces her to Wen Zheng, hoping that he can save their family business crisis. She changes her strategy to become gentle and this moves him. She happens to see the ring he prepares for Jing Hui,. Knowing that he intends to marry Jing Hui, she eats sleeping pills added with wine.
He has to promise to start afresh with her. They become engaged and she wants to sign an agreement. She even lies to him that she is pregnant and she later reveals the motive of the signed agreement. His parents object to their wedding violently upon knowing their motive. However, Wen Zheng goes ahead with this as Sophia nearly attempts suicide again and he starts to feel for her. She is insecure with Jing Hui’s presence but Wen Zheng shows that he is faithful to her.

10. Wen Xin Di
She is Jing Hui’s colleague who often sneers at her for being single. She gets jealous when seeing Ming Zheng sending her flowers and tries to get close to him. Of course she fails miserably. She is later also interested in Kai to often create discord between the two. Their breakup is partly due to her. This busybody also sends this message to Ming Zheng to involve him in this. This woman is a true vixen.

11. Richard – Yu Yi
Knowing Richard is Ling’s biggest regret in life. He is a leech which sucks her blood dry. He keeps haunting her and nearly destroys her future. This woman is weird to meet two men at the same time and she regrets being unfaithful to Sheng Xiong. He cheats Jing Hui’s father’s money to run away but luckily he is caught after kidnapping Ling.

12. Xiao Li – Liu Ting Yu
She is also Jing Hui’s colleague to remind her to watch over Kai. She can tell at first look that he is a playboy. Although she has a boyfriend, she doesn’t mind going for blind dates to find a better partner.

13. Lin Jing Wen by Min Yan Na
She is Jing Hui’s younger sister who obeys her parents to study engineering but later plucks up her courage to learn art instead. She is in love with Ah Jin for being serious in drawing. That is why she listens to him to tell her parents frankly what she really wants. After his death, she gets into the art academy to fulfill their promise.

Most favourite character
Ming Zheng, he is serious in work and also love relationships. Yes, he is boring but he is faithful in love which matters the most.

Most hated character
Jing Hui is stubborn and impractical. Although she claims that Kai is a playboy, it seems that she is also wild at heart but she herself isn’t aware of it. She is already 30 years old but she doesn’t know how to cherish feelings of others. She doesn’t seem to help her own younger sister too.
The second is Ling – I thought she is devoted to Sheng Xiong? Why is she still hanging out with Richard? Serves her right as Richard releases all her sexy photos with him to the press so she can no longer stay in China.

Conclusion
It is just a simple romantic drama but somehow, there is a gap between Fung and Yi Rong. They look like a mismatch. Chung Shun also looks more compatible with Feng than her. I have the feeling that she can only pair up with younger Taiwan actors. Firstly, the title is special – love that breathes in Chinese? That is interesting. However, it is not as thrilling as it should be.
They could have focused on one couple but the producer does in on four – or maybe five if we include the fake Qiang Sen and Li Sha pair. But even though enough coverage is given on each, we can detect the strength and weakness on every pair. It only reveals how they keep repeating the same things again. I don’t find the love is breathing in a different way here. The English title suggests that love multiplies but it seems more like they multiply the trouble.
It is boring to have two patients in this drama! Come on, one tear jerker is enough – must we have two? The two as Jing Wen and Ah Jin can’t really act well. We end up suffering with them. We often see hospital scenes due to this. Many have said that this drama is so different from the actual novel. I have not read it yet so I will not comment. But I do agree with them that Yi Rong should have switched roles with Yi Xuan. Yi Rong’s acting is below expectation and might not turn out that mad if it is done that way.
The arrangement is fake indeed – how can it be so coincidental that the two guys and Jing Hui meet in the MTR. It doesn’t make sense that Ming Zheng kisses Jing Hui by mistake as it is too crowded and Kai stands up for her! I will buy the idea if it is the other way round.
Ming Zheng and Jing Hui use the same handphones and they exchange by mistake? Are they shooting a commercial? Moreover, the original novel setting is in Taiwan, not Shanghai. It’s like the channel is completely wrong and also ice cream compared to ice. I also know why many complain as the feel is no longer there once all of them open their mouths to talk.
We know how Taiwanese and China artistes act differently from Hong Kong artistes. Thus, a mixture of acting makes it confusing and uneven. I must admit that I started watching due to Fung and Chung Shun. Maybe a full cast from a region might give better results. Too many cooks spoil the broth in here.

Sukting’s ratings :
On acting : *** (Scale of 5)
On story : **1/2 (Scale of 5)
On song : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)



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