THIS IS NOT WHAT I EXPECTED (PG)
107 minutes/ 3.5 stars
A handsome billionaire falls in love with a plain dorky girl - it is classic wish-fulfilment fantasy that has been done to death in many romantic comedies.
Making it work in this utterly likeable film are the genuine sparks between Takeshi Kaneshiro and Zhou Dongyu.
Hotel tycoon and foodie Lu Jin (Kaneshiro) is famously difficult to please, until he starts tasting dishes cooked by a mysterious and talented sous chef named Shengnan (Zhou).
As awkward as the pairing appears to be at first, the leads are surprisingly convincing as the perfect romantic match. There is enough character development here on both sides for audiences to buy into their blossoming relationship.
Yip Wai Yee
PAKISTANI FILM FESTIVAL
The festival this year features Shah (above, PG13, 105 minutes, 2015), a biography of boxer Hussain Shah. After a childhood spent homeless on the streets of Karachi, he rises to become one of the best in Asia in his weight class, going on to win Pakistan’s first boxing medal – a bronze at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. The film follows the downturn his life takes after his meteoric rise. Shah is one of six films on the festival slate this year.
WHERE: Carnival Theatres, 02-00 Shaw Tower, 100 Beach Road WHEN: Sunday to May 21, various times ADMISSION: $10. For bookings, call 9660-0665 or 9296-9788 INFO: Go to carnivalcinemas.sg
EUROPEAN UNION FILM FESTIVAL
The Irish comedy The Young Offenders (M18, 103 minutes, 2016) is inspired by the real-life story of a cocaine cache worth millions washing ashore on the coast of West Cork. Two kids from a rough neighbourhood steal bikes and head on a road trip to the shore, hoping to find a lost share of the loot.
WHERE: National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road WHEN: Till May 21, various times ADMISSION: $12 INFO: For schedule and bookings, go to www.euff.sg
LOVE OFF THE CUFF (NC16)
120 minutes/4 stars
In this sequel to Love In A Puff (2010) and Love In The Buff (2012), Jimmy (Shawn Yue) and Cherie (Miriam Yeung) are living together happily. But this state of affairs gets shaken up.
The characters are lived-in and their situations feel intimately real. Credit goes to director and co-writer Pang Ho Cheung for crafting funny and incisive dialogue and to Yue and Yeung for slipping so thoroughly into their roles.