MY LUCKY STAR (Dennie Gordon). 113 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (September 20). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: N
Watching Zhang Ziyi hunching and preening in a strained effort to be as adorable as a cat licking her paws will make you cringe.
The once mighty international star, most familiar as the firecracker in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the tragic seductress in Wong Kar-wai's 2046, is now working China's middling rom-com scene, doing her best impression of Reese Witherspoon and Sex And The City's Carrie Bradshaw.
In this pitiful prequel to 2009's Sophie's Revenge, Zhang plays the titular travel agent and comic book artist, a hopeless romantic who dreams of falling in love with a dapper spy. While on vacation in Singapore, Sophie's fantasy materializes in the person of the bland David (Wang Leehom), and she gets caught up in the not so secret agent's hunt for the world's biggest diamond, which some nefarious types plan to turn into a WMD.
The whole enterprise plays more like Inspector Gadget than The Spy Who Loved Me, with cartoonish villains and pratfall comedy that belong on Treehouse TV.
American TV director Dennie Gordon serves as a hired hand who, along with large chunks of English dialogue, is meant to make the movie appeal to North American audiences.
If this dreck is what the Chinese market thinks we like, you have to wonder what kind of impression our movies make on them.