The Breakup Guru Info & Reviews
Director: Deng Chao
Cast: Deng Chao, Mini Yang, Betty Sun
Synopsis: "One is a bum, one gets by selling self-help DVDs: Mei Yuan Gui is a guy who survives by leeching off his girlfriends; Ye Xiao Chun is a girl who sells DVDs for a living. Two people in the bottom rungs of society meet by accident one day when the guy saves the girl, and so begins the most hilarious, silly and touching love story."
Theatrical Release: Various (including Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, New York and Washington, DC)
Deng Chao, a well-known main land Chinese star, has chosen to do so in his first directorial debut, The Breakup Guru. Known for his serious dramatic roles in the martial arts movie series called The Four, or in the movie called American Dreams in China by Peter Chan, which is about reflections on contemporary Chinese society, Deng Chao chooses to break out of his usual roles and plunge headlong into an over-the-top farcical fling with this new movie. Unfortunately, the results are a ceaseless barrage of incoherently strung together gags some of which are funny and others simply juvenile and offensive.
The Breakup Guru is an adaptation of his co-director and screenwriter Yu Baimei's stage play about a professional heartbreaker trading in his cool headedness to accept his own sentimental side. Inspired by their collaboration on a student comedy when they were both at the Central Academy of Dramatic Arts, the screen version retains no more than a fraction of Yu Baimei's original play’s plot. The co directors claim they are pushing the envelope of the farcical genre. Regrettably, they have only pushed it to new lows with their racist and homophobic miscalculations. They turned what could have been an interesting study of the chemistry between its two leads, a masterful seducer and a girl who’s steadfastly loyal to her lover who must each confront the dilemma as their growing mutual affection tempts them to betray either their partner or their professional integrity, into on-screen mayhem with tasteless racial and gender-offensive pranks with a complete lack of logic.
There were High Expectations for The Breakup Guru.
After all it was being produced by Enlight, which had also produced the successful directorial debut of Xu Zheng, Lost in Thailand, the previous year. In addition, the female lead was actress Mini Yang, considered pop royalty in many young Chinese school girls’ hearts with her starring role in the hugely popular Tiny Times series. The on location filming in Mauritius along its beautiful to the cosmopolitan skyline of Bejing, China, was perfectly captured with Du Jie’s dexterous lensing, achieving a strong cinematic look with the glossiness that is typical of most Chinese commercial fare. In addition the lavish production design included costume designer, You Ying styling Deng and Yang in hipster-grunge apparel that captures their outgoing personalities. Every aspect of the film including the split-screen images, brisk editing and digital animation was aimed at an upwardly mobile youthful Chinese demographics desperate for entertainment now that the school year had just ended.
Even with poor film reviews, the marketing hype seemed to work, at least initially. According to a Variety review: Marketing hype and a lack of local competition propelled opening-weekend box office to $20.6 million from Chinese and Stateside theaters
"The Breakup Guru" (Fen Shou Da Shi) starring and co-directed by famous Chinese actor Deng Chao, grossed over 180 million yuan (about US$ 28 million), at box offices during its opening weekend.
The movie has enjoyed a high attendance rate. Many theaters have added extra show times and screened the film in bigger rooms to accommodate the high turnout.
Deng Chao's directorial debut has been met with praise online by Chinese movie-goers, with many marveled at Deng's skill behind the camera.