REVIEW / ROMANCE COMEDY
106 minutes/Opens tomorrow/2/5 stars
The story: Lin Yu (Wang Weiliang) seems destined to always be No. 2 in whatever he does, coming up just short every single time. When he meets Qingqing (Venus Wong) as a little boy, he carries a torch for her that burns for many years even as they are kept apart by circumstances and the other men in her life.
Wang Weiliang broke out as Ah Beng soldier Lobang in the national service-themed ensemble Ah Boys To Men films (2012-2015) with his swagger and assured screen presence.
He gets the chance to be the leading man here but, unfortunately, in a role that calls for him to be mousy and timid most of the time.
Even worse: While the idea is for this to be an epic romance in the vein of Taiwanese hits You Are The Apple Of My Eye (2011) and Our Times (2015), the vibe between him and pretty but bland Hong Kong actress Venus Wong (King Of Mahjong, 2015) is more amicable than passionate.
The will-they-or-won't-they premise drags out for far too long.
The movie could have done with a much-needed trim, especially the jarring jump from light-hearted comedy romance to melodrama in a teary rooftop scene between Lin and his father (Chew Chor Meng).
The attempt to add some heft by incorporating real-life events from the Hotel New World collapse in 1986 to the Sars outbreak in 2003 does not really work.
These momentous episodes are reduced to the equivalent of movie wallpaper populated by a cast stuck in underwritten roles, including local 1980s television star Chen Xiuhuan as Lin's over-protective mother.