Calling Big Star: A big disappointment

Fans of Taiwanese dramas like Fated to Love You, Meteor Garden, The Frog Prince and other RomCom series will be sorely disappointed over this offering starred in by HongKong superstar Charlene Choi and Taiwanese heartthrob Mike He (Devil Beside You).

I initially watched this series after reading a brief synopsis, Mike He, who plays reluctant movie star Bo Ye, buys a lottery ticket in order to support his sister’s studies and get his best friends out of their respective financial predicaments, as well as quit showbusiness altogether. However, a chance encounter with a female taxi driver from Hong Kong De Xin (Charlene Choi) causes them to switch packages at a bookstore, leading to the mysterious disappearance of the winning ticket. Bo Ye, not believing that De Xin does not have the ticket, tries to romance her into returning to him his NT 300 million prize.

Based on earlier series and movies that featured the two, I was fully expecting the series to be a romantic comedy. The basic premise was very simple and held a lot of potential for 14 episodes of cutie cutie realizations and adventures, much like Jerry Yan and Ella’s Down With Love. However, the series creators chose to take the other direction and made it more of a dramatic love story, inserting elements of tragic family backgrounds to flesh out the story instead of making an effort to stay true to the RomCom roots of the plot. I think this is the biggest failure of the series. The premise and the execution failed to meet, resulting in an insincere output that didn’t quite make the impact on the viewers that it should have.

While there were nice moments between the two leads (the sit up scene at the hotel), I felt that they really had trouble connecting with each other, and Charlene’s HK accent kept getting in way of delivering Mandarin dialogue. It also did not help that the character that she portrayed, instead of being a perky and charming survivor mostly fell flat and pathetic, making viewers want to slap her or something into action. Mike He, in my opinion, failed to deliver the emotions required of the drawn out dramatic scenes and seemed stiff and detached throughout the series. I think he is better suited for the light dramas where the basic requisite is good looks and not so heavy acting chops. Personally, I liked the character of A Li, played by Chen Zi Kai best, because among the cast, he seemed more natural and the most relatable to the audience.

Fans of Mike He and Charlene Choi (me being one of them) may like the series on the basis of the names of these two stars on the billing but I am sorely disappointed because it could have been better, for sure if they put more effort into building up this series.