Set in Shanghai, ‘This Is Not What I Expected’ tries to fill the rom-com dearth in my life. Unfortunately, though, it comes up short.
This Chinese movie, set in Shanghai, isn’t bad. It’s just a little bit too by-the-numbers. I always say that these kinds of movies are deep set on formula, but what will set them apart will be chemistry and charisma.
Takeshi Kaneshiro plays Lu Jin, your serious straight-laced businessman who keeps on encountering Gu Shengnan, played by Zhou Dongyu. They meet cute, sure, but they keep on meeting and Derek Hui just tries so hard to keep them cuter and cuter until you become so annoyed with them. And he makes Gu quirly with a capital Q, and it just seems so ‘manufactured’ to me that after a while I did not believe it anymore.
But the two actors do have chemistry, though. Even as they saddle through a cliched script, they almost pull it off by instilling a beating heart into the story. Plus, I have to admit it felt a little long to me – some situations could have benefited from a little editing. Still, the initial cuteness is appealing enough, like a Hello Kitty Doll that outstays its welcome.