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Let's Get Married
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by Jay Seaver

"Four weddings and... well, more weddings."
4 stars

"Let's Get Married" is the third Chinese film based upon a popular television series in roughly as many months to get a simultaneous American release, although I can attest that no prior experience is necessary to enjoy it. It's probably not a transformative new take on the story, but it's an enjoyable little four-pack of romantic comedies.

Most of it takes place in Beijing, where Ye Wenwen (Gao Yuanyuan) manages a bridal boutique. She's just had a visit from her ex-boyfriend Li Jianfeng (Ming Dao) and a demanding bride by the name of Wang Ke Er (Mo Xiaoqi) who insists upon wearing a display model that dressmaker Chen ZhenXuan (Jiang Wu) will have to alter. It's also where Tian Haixin (Tamia Liu Tao) manages a hotel and is married to its duck-obsessed chef Gao Dapeng (Wang Zijian), although that may be threatened as Haixin is being offered a new job and is ambivalent about her new pregnancy. It's also home base for pilot Ling Xiao (Ryan Zheng Kai), whose girlfriend Guo Xiaolei (Ivy Chen Yihan) is a security guard and impatient waiting for him to propose. One flight takes violinist Wen Yi (Haden Guo Biting) to Italy where she is entered in a contest, although she meant to come as part of a couple. Then again, tour guide "Luca" Li Xiang (Jerry Li Chen) seems pretty fond of her.

The four stories don't intersect nearly as much as one might expect - Wenwen's shop actually can't serve as a hub until most of the stories are nearly over, after all. None of the stories are particularly complex, actually pretty close to being two-person love stories, with the ones that could turn into triangles keeping the third vertex well out of the picture. Most tend to introduce the situation with director Liu Jiang seeming to hope that the audience won't notice that the stories aren't exactly moving forward as he cuts between them, sometimes keeping things on the back burner for long enough that the viewer is apt to wonder just where some of these people have gone.

Because of that simplicity, the stories that are generally upbeat tend to work the best - it's a lot more fun to watch Wenwen and Chen circle each other or Wen Yi and Luca learn what they've got in common than to follow Xiao's and Xialei's frustration or Haixin's and Dapeng's bickering. Sure, the latter thread has some of the more oddball moments of humor, but it can probably just be taken as given that deadlines and ultimatums really don't match the spirit of romantic comedy very well unless they arise from plots that are much more screwball than what is going on here. There are still plenty of chuckles to be found, though, if only because most of the characters are eccentric in ways that can be pointed without ever being cruel.

And they are, by and large, pretty charming; even the relatively abrasive Haixin has moments when her guard gets let down. It's quite a likable ensemble, with Gao Yuanyuan (previously seen in Johnnie To's Don't Go Breaking My Heart movies) and Jiang Wu particularly coming across well, projecting basic goodness that marks their characters as self-sacrificing but not fools. Wang Zijian probably plays the most eccentric character, but he makes Dapeng both sweet and the kind of guy who seems like a major mismatch for Haixin. "Haden" Guo Biting and "Jerry" Li Chen make a fine love-at-first-sight couple, and Mo Xiaoqi adds a bit of spice as the jealous Ke Er.

With that title, there's never much doubt about where the movie is going in general, and sometimes it makes really obvious stops along the way. The beautiful shots of Italy are kind of expected, but that doesn't make them less impressive, and the three or four songs that recur occasionally call attention to themselves for being a bit out of place. Is Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender" really that iconic in mainland China (and, for that matter, is it weird that all five weddings we see are western-style, with nary a red dress to be found)? It's not any sort of spoiler to say that viewers are in for a lot of heartfelt wedding proposals in relatively short order.

Nothing wrong with that, though, even if you're not as primed for some relatively simple romance as I was when I got to this movie. It makes no bones about being the straightforward set of love stories that it is, and navigates between sappy and cynical well enough to pull it off.

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originally posted: 04/05/15 15:31:43
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User Comments

1/23/16 Reina A lot of endearing characters and a sweet movie. Well worth a watch! 4 stars
4/16/15 Rory Has some nice touching moments. One of them is even related not to romance, but childhood. 4 stars
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Directed by
  Jiang Liu

Written by

  Yuanyuan Gao
  Wu Jiang
  Tao Liu
  Zijan Wang
  Kai Zheng
  Ivy Chen
  Biting Guo
  Chen Li

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