April 25, 2023
by Carla Hay
Directed by Kiwi Chow
Cantonese with subtitles
Culture Representation: Taking place in Hong Kong, the comedy film “Say I Do to Me” features an all-Asian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.
Culture Clash: A social media personality, who has crafted an image of being happily single, decides to stage a public wedding where she will marry herself, while she hides the fact that she has a boyfriend, who is jealous and insecure about her admirers who want to date her.
Culture Audience: “Say I Do to Me” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching a romantic comedy that goes off in different directions with many fake-looking scenes.
The comedy misfire “Say I Do to Me” ruins an interesting concept (a social media personality wants to marry herself in a public ceremony) with too many awkwardly staged scenarios and horrible dialogue. It’s trying to be cute but it’s all very annoying. The wedding ceremony is supposed to be the big climax to the movie. After all the buildup, the last 20 minutes of the film, which were supposed to be the best section of the film, is actually the worst. It’s just a mess that drags on for far too long.
Directed by Kiwi Chow, “Say I Do to Me” has several subplots that never really gel in a cohesive way. The story jumps from subplot to subplot, bringing up many questions that the movie never bothers to answer. It doesn’t help that the protagonist of “Say I Do to Me” is very flaky and not very interesting. And almost all of the characters are written and portrayed in such superficial and hollow ways, they seem more like caricatures than relatable people. “Say I Do to Me” director Chow co-wrote the movie’s disjointed screenplay with Frankie Wang-Kit Chung and Isis Tso Yin-Sin.
In “Say I Do to Me” (which takes place in Hong Kong), Ping Cheung (played by Sabrina Ng) is a semi-successful social media personality who is mainly on YouTube and Instagram. Ping, who is in her early 20s, has about 1 million followers on Instagram, but throughout the movie, it’s shown that Pink has hasn’t had much luck getting sponsors. In other words, she has a large audience but hasn’t found a way to make money from the social media platforms that she uses. And in this day and age, 1 million followers on Instagram, although commendable, is still a low number for someone who expects to get rich from social media.
Ping has made a name for herself by creating a media platform brand called Sologamy. The concept for Sologamy is to celebrate self-love and to be unapologetically single in a society that pressures people to get married or be in a committed romantic relationship. Publicly, Ping has an image of being a happily single and not currently dating anyone.
Privately, Ping has been dating Dickson (played by Chan Kin-Long), who is her live-in boyfriend. Ping and Dickson have known each other since they were in middle school. Dickson handles all the technical aspects of Ping’s social media accounts.
Even though Ping and Dickson are a “couple,” the movie oddly never shows Ping and Dickson having any romantic moments together throughout the story. It’s one of many things about “Say I Do to Me” that make it look like a phony and not well-made. In various parts of the movie, Dickson gets jealous when a few of Ping’s admirers start courting her. She has to pretend that she’s available, which infuriates Dickson even more.
The subplots involve the various entanglements that Ping has with people who are in and out of the movie in scenes that don’t flow well together. (In other words, the film editing is pretty bad.) Ping does some voiceover narration explaining who these people are, but some of these characters are still introduced in ways that might confuse some viewers.
Stephanie Cheung (played by Yat Ning Chan) is a rich and famous relative of Ping’s. Stephanie is 39 years old. And she calls herself Ping’s older sister. But surprise! Somehow, someone in Ping’s audience found out that Stephanie is really Ping’s mother. Ping then has to make an apologetic confession video to her audience.
The movie never gives an adequate explanation for why Stephanie insists on Ping acting like Stephanie like a sister instead of a mother. It’s also never explained how long Stephanie and Ping were lying about the true nature of ther family relationship. It’s implied that Stephanie has some mental health issues and is emotionally immature.
Stephanie treats marriage and divorce like redecorating. She’s been married and divorced six times. Stephanie also overshares too many details about her love life with Ping, which is one of the reasons Ping has tried to distance herself from Stephanie. Stephanie’s cavalier attitude toward marriage has also made Ping wary of getting married.
One day, Ping gets a promising invitation to meet with a potential sponsor. He’s a successful and handsome 30-year-old businessman named Charles Ko (played by Mixon Wong), who invites Ping to his office for an interview. It soon becomes obvious that Charles is romantically attracted to Ping. The problem is that Charles is dating one of his employees named Kitty (played by J. Lou), who is very jealous. Kitty is barely in the movie, and when she is, her scenes look very forced and clumsy.
Tsz “Daniel” Chun (played by Jacky Tong Hoo-lin) is a platonic friend of Ping’s but he is romantically attracted to her too. Daniel is nerdy and timid. He’s also a very religious Christian. Ping is a Christian too, but she’s not as devoted to praying and going to church as Daniel is. Ping employs Daniel to do part-time work for her, such as giving her car rides and doing errands. He eagerly accepts any offer to spend time with her.
Another admirer who wants to get close to Ping is Yi “Yee” Lok (played by Candy Lo), who owns a flower shop called Mona Lisa. Yee is a stranger who is an avid follower of Ping on social media. Yee and her devoted husband Kenneth (played by Gregory Wong) have been married for 20 years. Yee contacts Ping to meet her in person because Yee says she might want to sponsor Ping and possibly become her friend. Yee also has a big secret that she eventually confesses to Ping.
Speaking of friends, Ping is never shown having any close platonic friends besides Daniel. The movie never explains if Ping was always a loner type or if her social media obsession negatively affected her ability to make friends in the real world. “Say I Do to Me” has no character development for Ping. This very unfunny movie is just a series of poorly edited scenes that are filmed like scenes from a substandard sitcom.
Ping’s self-wedding day is supposed to be a major event for her, but she’s hardly seen planning it for most of the movie until a few hastily crammed-together scenes toward the end of the film. “Say I Do to Me” also goes off on a mishandled, weird tangent about Internet haters harassing Ping in person: These agitators are disguised as stuffed animals. And because Ping and Dickson do not have convincing romantic chemistry with each other, the stakes are non-existent in the Ping/Dickson relationship when Ping gets romantic attention from other people.
“Say I Do to Me” is the type of overstuffed film that tries to do too many things but ends up not saying or doing anything substantial. It could have been a hilarious story about the pitfalls of inventing a fake persona online, but the comedy and characters are completely bungled in this movie. The acting performances range from bland to barely watchable. Ironically, for a movie about someone who’s created a fake persona online, “Say I Do to Me” doesn’t look believable at all.
Edko Films Ltd. released “Say I Do to Me” in select U.S. cinemas on April 21, 2023. The movie was released in Hong Kong on January 26, 2023.