Like a lazy day on the beach, Summer Holiday makes few demands on its audience. It’s a breezy crowd pleaser that’s easy to enjoy thanks to its headliners and some enticing scenery. Sammi Cheng and Richie Ren don’t have as much chemistry here as their later project, Marry a Rich Man, but they make up for it with more subtle and rewarding performances.
Cheng handles her part especially well, turning Summer Koo into a flawed but likeable character. The ambitious businesswoman gets fired and dumped on the same day, and given her superior attitude, it’s easy to see why. But not one to mope about, Summer tries to rectify her situation by cashing in on her cousin’s beach, of which she is an investor. She jets off to Malaysia (the film was shot at Pulau Redang) only to discover that her co-owner is a carefree beach bum who strolls around the property with a guitar and an unbuttoned shirt, if he even has one on.
Ren is a perfect fit for More More Cha, putting his shaggy locks and musical skills to good use. I suspect his tanned abs enhance his believability. More More Cha refuses to sell his shares though. His attachment stems from pleasant childhood memories, and he doesn’t want the simple surroundings turned into a developer’s playground for the leisure class. One glance at the sun-kissed waters makes it easy to see why.
After negotiation fails to yield immediate results, Summer employs other tactics and plays nice in hopes that the simple More More Cha will give in to her charms. Things don’t quite work out that way, however, and she ends up feeling more abandoned than before. Cheng’s above average performance makes the predictable romantic comedy twists seem natural. You don’t really want to feel sorry for such a selfish character, but Cheng gives you license to empathize.
The rest of the cast give a little color to the story and setting. Malaysian actors and singers Ah Niu and Michael Wong fill in as More More Cha’s roving buddies, while Echo Chen has a more substantial role as Yoyo, a girl with a mysterious crush on him. Still, it’s Cheng’s show, which is fine by me.
“浪花一朵朵” (“Wave Sprays”) – theme song by Richie Ren, Ah Niu, and Michael Kong
“快樂不快樂” (“Happy Unhappy”) – by Sammi Cheng
Prod: David Chan 陳錫康; Patricia Chong 莊麗真
Dir: Jingle Ma 馬楚成
Writer: Susan Chan 陳淑賢
Cast: Sammi Cheng 鄭秀文; Richie Ren 任賢齊; Echo Chen 沈傲君; Ah Niu 陳慶祥; Michael Wong 王光良; Tay Ping-Hui 鄭斌輝; Tam Fung-Ling 譚風玲; Vincent Kok 谷德昭
Time: 96 min