If You Are the One (非诚无扰) is a 2008 Chinese romantic comedy film directed by Feng Xiaogang, starring Ge You and Shu Qi. The film was a huge success at the Chinese box office, prompting an sequel merely two years later. In fact, the success of this film also brought with it a Chinese dating show by the same name (there may or may not be a post about it in the future). For those of you who don’t know, Ge You is a famous comedy actor in Mainland China, made famous by his award winning role in the 1994 film To Live.
Please bear with me – I watched this film in a Tylenol-induced haze a couple years ago, so my memory may have gaping holes in it. Nevertheless, it doesn’t change the fact that it was, and remains to be, one of my favorite Chinese movies.
Here’s the basic premise of the movie: Qin Fen (Ge You) plays a 40-year old multimillionaire made rich by a selling an “innovative invention” to a foolish businessman. With his new fortune, Qin decides to end his days of bachelorhood and begins online dating, with the tagline 非诚无扰, meaning “if you are not sincere, then don’t bother”. His ventures result in encounters with a homosexual childhood friend, an erotophobic widow, a cemetery plot saleswoman, among other things. Eventually, he crosses path with Liang Xiaoxiao (Shu Qi), who is attempting to get over an agonizing love affair. The movie takes off from this point.
(“Yes, I’ll buy your “innovative invention” for $10 million dollars”)
Ge You is one of my personal favorite actors, and it’s one of the reasons why I really like this movie. He’s an incredibly versatile actor, equally adept at acting the hopeless romantic and the bumbling klutz. The movie, while being incredibly funny at times, also has its serious moments. I think that the best way to describe this movie is a “miniature Asian drama”, but only in reference to the incredible depth of feeling and passion that is apparent between relationships between all the characters.
(You can clearly see the emotion. Behind that bear mask.)
The movie succeeds in that while it deals with the affairs of love and friendship, it never becomes overly sappy or corny (In Chinese, we would say 肉麻 or 呀酸). Thus, that degree of realism remains, making the movie all the more captivating. The ending of the movie is one of those “awwwwww” moments and while it can be predicted to a certain degree, it still leaves us awfully surprised.
(Look at your girlfriend. Now look at me. You wish she were me.)
This was one of those few movies that I felt like watching again after it ended. I mentioned that a sequel came out in 2010. I have absolutely no desire to watch it, because I feel as if whatever plot developments occur in the sequel would ruin the perfect ending created in the first movie. The movie concludes not too soon, not too late. It leaves us free to formulate any sort of a future for the characters in our minds. It is the beginning of any sequence of happy events. It is perfect.