My Best Friend's Wedding

My Best Friend's Wedding

I thought it would be interesting to compare the original and Chinese versions of this film, both of which were expiring on Prime on the same day.

The structure of the film is basically the same: When Gu Jia (Shu Qi), a career woman, discovers that her old friend and flame Lin Ran (Feng Shaufeng) is getting married to a younger woman (Victoria Song), she realises that she wants him for herself and decides to sabotage the wedding… but will she get the guy?

The film makes some changes to the original: for some unknown reason it’s set mostly in London (I’ve seen tax breaks mentioned, which I didn’t know was a thing, but seems as likely a reason as any other). We’re shown flashbacks to the earlier relationship between the central couple, which I honestly think is to the film’s detriment; part of what’s great about the original is that it’s hard to know how much of Julianne’s attachment to Michael is sparked by jealousy and a personal crisis about her own life, rather than actual feelings for him. It also makes Gu Jia’s sabotage somewhat less extreme than Julianne’s, filing off the original film’s rough edges, which kind of defeats the purpose as far as I’m concerned.

The worst change, though, is that Xuan Xuan (Song), the analogue to Kimmy in the original, has none of her charm or intelligence. Lin Ran’s attraction to her reflects badly on him, and it means that the film doesn’t play with audience sympathies in the same way, making it much more simplistic and less satisfying. There’s also the fact that characters keep making casually misogynistic comments about Gu Jia being ‘on the shelf’, and it’s not really clear whether the film is satirising that attitude or endorsing it, especially since some of the characters saying this stuff are ones we’re presumably supposed to sympathise with.

I was interested to see what the film would do with Nick (Rhydian Vaughan). He’s not an exact analogue to the character of George in the original, who has seemingly been split into two characters, one being Nick and the other being Gu Jia’s assistant back in Milan. The latter is part of a subplot that doesn’t really go anywhere involving her pretending to be Gu Jia because Gu Jia ran off from fashion week to go to the wedding (this doesn’t end up paying off). Nick is a dishy guy whom Gu Jia meets on the plane. I was assuming he would be a straightwashed version of George, but it’s… kind of ambiguous? He agrees to help Gu Jia make Lin Ran jealous, but they only pretend to be together for a day or so, and then he says he’s gay (and oh boy… hilarity ensues, with him like, making a duckface and repeatedly slapping Lin Ran on the arse, like gay people do?). It’s unclear whether this is somehow part of the plan or the truth, since he doesn’t mention being gay before or after and there’s no reason for him to mention it to Lin Ran either. It’s just confusing.

This film somehow seems both expensive and cheap: there’s a lot of jetting around and wealth porn, and Christian Louboutin has a cameo, but it looks and feels incredibly televisual and somewhat slapped together. Shu Qi and Rhydian Vaughan are both very attractive and charming, but this doesn’t have any of the wit or bite of the original, and ends up feeling like a Chinese version of some second-tier Netflix or Hallmark original.