Paris Holiday packaged with cliches, stereotypes

There is little romantic chemistry between Louis Koo and Amber Kuo.
There is little romantic chemistry between Louis Koo and Amber Kuo.PHOTO: CLOVER FILMS

REVIEW / ROMANTIC COMEDY

PARIS HOLIDAY (PG)
114 minutes/Opens tomorrow/*1/2

THE STORY: Kit (Louis Koo) moves to Paris for his new job in the wine business. He ends up sharing an apartment with the recently dumped artist Man (Amber Kuo).


Given her hatred of men, Kit has to pretend to be gay for Man to tolerate his presence. As he comforts her and offers her advice, they find themselves getting closer. And then Kit's ex-girlfriend comes to Paris to look for him.

Holidays are meant to be sweetly pleasant occasions. But this Parisian confection leaves a sour taste in the mouth instead.

For starters, a romantic comedy soars or falls on the chemistry of the couple in question, and the vibe between Koo and Kuo is more familial than romantic.

He is the more experienced and sensible older brother to her petulant younger sister, patiently offering advice on how to get over a broken heart while cleaning up the apartment and making it fit for human habitation once more. Watching them kiss is an exercise in awkward intimacy.

Neither does Koo share much chemistry with his onscreen former girlfriend played by Chinese actress Candy Liu.

In other words, the audience has no couple to root for in a movie whose script is packed with cliches, contrivances and stereotypes.

The iconic attractions of the city of lights are dutifully showcased but, otherwise, it is a place of creaky lifts, douchebag cabbies and easy women.

There is something to cheer only when Alex Fong shows up, playing an Asian emigre with plenty of sex appeal in a Western society. That is as inventive as it gets story-wise.

Man is the worst cliche of a sensitive artist who feels too much and Kuo overacts alarmingly.

At least Koo turns in a more reined-in performance and offers his reliably affable presence.

To stretch things out, Man and Kit have to play along as a married couple as she had already signed up for a wedding photo shoot in anticipation of the big day with her ex.

The point of this is mainly to have the stars all dressed up taking pictures with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Towards the end, it seems as though the movie is going to head in an unexpected direction, suggesting that you can find your soulmate and not end up together. That is merely a feint, though.

It would have been too much to expect that from a way too packaged Holiday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2015, with the headline 'Paris Holiday packaged with cliches, stereotypes'. Print Edition | Subscribe