Review: ‘The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan,’ starring Han Geng, Ryan Zheng, Zeng Mengxue and Kelly Yu

October 16, 2023

by Carla Hay

Ryan Zheng and Han Geng in “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan” (Photo courtesy of CMC Pictures)

“The X-Files 4: Marriage Plans”

Directed by Tian Yusheng

Mandarin with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in Beijing, China, the comedy film sequel “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plans” has an all-Asian cast of characters representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: Two male best friends—one who’s divorced, and one who’s in a live-in relationship with a woman—navigate society’s pressures to settle down and get married.

Culture Audience: “The Ex-Files Marriage” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and romantic comedies that don’t do anything original or clever.

Ryan Zheng and Kelly Yu in “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan” (Photo courtesy of CMC Pictures)

“The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan” is the very definition of an unnecessary sequel. There’s not much to this story except people whining about how they have relationship problems. Viewers of the movie don’t have to know anything about the previous three “Ex-Files” movies, although it helps to have some context about the returning characters and what types of relationships they had in the previous “Ex-Files” movies.

Directed by Tian Yusheng, “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plans” (which takes place in Beijing, China) continues the story of best friends Meng Yun (played by Han Geng) and Yu Fe (played by Zheng Kai, also known as Ryan Zheng) and shows what happens in their love lives. The previous “Ex-Files” movies are 2014’s “The Ex-Files,” 2015’s “Ex-Files 2” and 2017’s “The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes.”

In “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plans,” Yun is divorced and still looking for love. He’s skeptical but hopeful that he will find his soul mate. Yun has a somewhat tense relationship with his ex-wife Lin Jia (played by Kelly Yu), since they had a bitter divorce. who has a son with her current boyfriend. Soon after Yun and Jia make peace with each other, she tells him that she’s getting married to the father of her child. Yun has mixed emotions and feels a little envious that his ex-wife has found a new spouse.

Fe is living with his girlfriend Ding Dian (played by Zeng Mengxue), who is pressuring him to marry her. Dian has owns a coffee shop that is struggling financially. Dian asks Fe for advice on what to do about the coffee shop, but he tells her it’s her decision. Dian and Fe also have to decide whether or not to split their financial obligations equally. Dian thinks Fe should be more emotionally invested in their relationship and more willing to commit to marriage. Predictably, Fe and Dian have many arguments about their relationship.

Meanwhile, a large portion of “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan” is about Yun getting back into the dating scene. He ends up casually dating two women around the same time: opinionated divorce attorney Huang Yue (played by Zhu Yan Man Zi) and perky Liu Liu (played by Cya Liu), who both find out that they are dating Yun. The movie shows if Yun chooses one woman over the other. A female bartender named Xiao Ai (played by Zhang Tian Ai) at Yun’s favorite restaurant/bar (where he romances Yue and Liu) observes all of these shenanigans and is a friendly listener whenever Yun tells sob stories about his love life.

“The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan” has adequate acting performances, which are hampered by a fairly dull screenplay. The problem is that the movie doesn’t go beyond the usual romantic comedy stereotypes about unmarried people and problems in their love lives. There are breakups, makeups, jealousies and misunderstandings. It all adds up to a very lukewarm story for a sequel that didn’t need to exist.

CMC Pictures released “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan” in select U.S. cinemas on September 29, 2023, and in China on September 28, 2023.

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