Review: ‘Love Suddenly’ (2022), starring Michael Ning, Shirley Chan, Adam Pak, Roxanne Tong, Anson Kong, Karina Ng, Edward Ma and Chloe So

January 5, 2023

by Carla Hay

Shirley Chan and Michael Ning in “Love Suddenly” (Photo courtesy of Just Distribution Company Ltd.)

“Love Suddenly” (2022)

Directed by Mak Ho-Pong

Cantonese with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in Hong Kong, the romantic comedy/drama film “Love Suddenly” features an all-Asian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: Eight people who are connected to each other in some way have various ups and downs in finding love.

Culture Audience: “Love Suddenly” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching silly romantic comedies that have a lot of cringeworthy scenarios and conversations.

Karina Ng and Anson Kong in “Love Suddenly” (Photo courtesy of Just Distribution Company Ltd.)

“Love Suddenly” is just a poorly made ripoff of the “Love Actually” concept. Everything about “Love Suddenly” is embarrassing to all those involved. The movie is supposed to be a romantic comedy/drama, but some of the scenarios in “Love Suddenly” are actually very creepy, not romantic, such as presenting a Peeping Tom situation as being cute and endearing. Most people would not want to date someone they knew was spying on them in their bedroom without their consent. But don’t tell that to the filmmakers of “Love Suddenly,” who want to pretend that this voyeuristic crime is an effective way to get someone to fall in love with the voyeur.

Directed by Mak Ho-Pong, “Love Suddenly” focuses on eight people in their 20s and 30s. It’s easy to see that long before the movie is over, these eight people will be paired off into four love couples. Two of the people are already a couple at the beginning of the movie, but they argue, break up, and reunite multiples times in the movie. Viewers are supposed to wonder if this bickering duo will stay together or not. (We all know what the outcome will be in a predictable movie like “Love Suddenly.”)

The 2003 British film “Love Actually” takes place in and around London, close to Christmas. “Love Suddenly,” which is set in Hong Kong in the early 2020s, takes place close to Valentine’s Day. The eight people at the center of “Love Suddenly” act in ridiculous ways that are supposed to be amusing, but most of it just looks unrealistic and pathetic. And much of it is downright dull. Edmond Wong, Cheung Chun-Ho, Hayley Fu and Cyan Ho wrote the horrible screenplay for “Love Suddenly.”

Here are the eight people who are the movie’s main characters:

Wong Chung (played by Anson Kong) and Jenny, also known as Zoe (played by Karina Ng), are a dysfunctional couple who make a living by documenting their lives on social media. Their constant verbal conflicts (usually over jealousy or suspicion that someone in the relationship is unfaithful) gets very tedious, very quickly. There is absolutely no good reason presented in the movie for why this miserable couple is together, except that they have to put up a front for their social media business that they are in a happy and healthy relationship.

Pong Kong (played by Michael Ning) is a nerdy roommate of Chung and Jenny/Zoe. He has a crush on someone who has recently moved into the home as a fourth roommate: Shirley (played by Shirley Chan), a graduate student who previously lived in Australia. Shirley’s bedroom is right next to Kong’s bedroom. Kong becomes so obsessed with Shirley, he secretly bores a smale hole in his bedroom wall to spy on Shirley, who just so happens to be doing her graduate thesis on porn and the sex industry.

Jerome (played by Adam Pak) is a freewheeling bachelor, who works as a gigolo servicing women and men. He is hired by a shy, rich woman named Silver (played by Chloe So), who says she is very inexperienced in dating. Silver is so bashful about dating, she’s afraid of men touching her. You know where this storyline is going, of course.

Chi Ho (played by Edward Ma) is a ladies’ man who is dating two women at the same time. During a date at a restaurant with one of the women, she finds out that Ho has been cheating on her, so she stabs him in the hand with a restaurant utensil. Ho ends up in a hospital, where he is tended to by a nurse named Tin Tin (played by Roxanne Tong), who listens to Ho talk about problems in his love life. Tin Tin proudly declares to Ho that she is currently dating 10 men at the same time.

“Love Suddenly” throws in a bizarre and not-very-funny subplot of Silver’s domineering father Boss Dai (Cheung Tat Ming) disapproving of Jerome, who meets Silver’s father and mother (played by Yuen Kling Dan) during a family dinner. Boss Dai challenges Jerome to a drinking contest. If Jerome loses, he will agree to stop dating Silver. If Boss Dai loses, he will agree to stop bullying Silver. This drinking contest scene is nothing but terrible slapstick comedy that just wastes more time in this stupid and boring movie. “Love Suddenly” is 93 minutes long but feels much longer because the semi-torture of watching this dreck can’t end soon enough.

“Love Suddenly” is just scene after scene of idiocy, with none of it very comical at all. Jerome gets kidnapped by some of Boss Dai’s thugs. Chung plays a prank on Jenny/Zoe by setting her up to be caught on camera reacting to catching him in bed with another woman, who is in on the “joke.” Chung and Jenny/Zoe have an important videoconference meeting with a potential business sponsor (played by Benny Lau), but roommate Kong suddenly appears in the background, visibly wearing a strap-on sex device, which is one of Shirley’s “research” toys.

Sometimes, a mindless movie can be watchable if the cast members have the talent to make the scenes interesting. Unfortunately, the acting in “Love Suddenly” is not good at all, making the movie extra-painful to watch. Ladies’ man Ho and sexually adventurous nurse Tin Tin are the least annoying would-be couple, but these two characters have the least screen time out of the eight main characters. Ultimately, all of the characters in “Love Suddenly” (just like the entire movie) have all the substance of disposable and used candy wrappers on Valentine’s Day.

Just Distribution Company Ltd. released “Love Suddenly” in select U.S. cinemas on December 2, 2022. The movie was released in China on November 17, 2022.

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