Starring: Xia Yu, Yan Ni, Pan Binlong
Director: Dayyan Eng
Running Time: 110 mins
Wished is a Chinese film about a man down on his luck who finds all the wishes he has ever made in his life being mysteriously granted, only to realise what he really needed was in front of him the whole time.
At first, this film looks like a painfully cheesy, childish and silly fantasy comedy, just trying to beat new life out of the old Faust fable. However, while it is undoubtedly still a very cheesy film, Wished does a great job at switching up a tired old premise, all the while providing a properly entertaining and surprisingly hilarious watch from start to finish, allowing you to sit back and enjoy two hours of brilliantly simple and fluffy fun.
As much as I enjoyed this film, however, I’ll quickly touch on some of the downsides that mean it’s not all plain sailing. First off, the opening act doesn’t seem all that different from the Faust formula, with a man and the magical woman who grants him his wishes going through a fairly predictable series of bumps in the first stages of this mystical phenomenon, not setting the film up in the best way possible.
Also, while the later acts are undoubtedly more entertaining, the plot does at times feel disappointingly shallow, with the central emotional story being largely forsaken for a garish and rather arrogant flaunting of excess and wealth (something that’s annoyingly common in modern Chinese comedies). It does die down towards the end, but at its height, there are times when I felt somewhat unsatisfied by a film that looks the part, but doesn’t always have the depth to go with it.
However, for the most part, this is a very light-hearted and fluffy comedy that you can laugh along with most of the way through. Despite its rocky and somewhat predictable start, what’s surprisingly the most entertaining and impressive thing about Wished is how original its premise ultimately becomes.
Loosely based on the classic Faust tale that we all know, the film does a good job at making the man’s wishes a more surprising and entertaining aspect of the story, as we see all of his wishes (even from back when he was a young boy) granted over the course of the film, proving an added bonus as we wait eagerly to see what his next wish will be, and how its abrupt granting will leave him in all sorts of hilarious mishaps.
What’s more is that, as well as proving entertaining with its fantasy story, the film does a good job in the end of bringing some emotion to the table. Its rather showy middle act is less-than-stellar, but the final stage of the film turns things right around with a really heartwarming and pleasant finale (even if it is still very, very cheesy). In the end, for all of its shallowness earlier on, Wished does prove to have a good heart, something that will definitely put a smile on your face and end the film on a really high note.
The humour here is also pretty good, making me laugh in ways that many recent Chinese comedies haven’t managed. In general, given that it’s so light-hearted, this isn’t a raucously funny movie, but I have to say that there are a good few properly hilarious gags here and there, the likes of which will really give you a big chuckle, furthering the entertainment value alongside the fluffy fun of the fantasy and cheesy romance.
Overall, I had a really fun time with Wished. It’s not a perfect film, and it’s definitely not one that’s full of brains, however it really surprised me with a story that’s not only simple and entertaining throughout, but also takes an impressively original and effective route, all the while giving you a good laugh with some great comedy, and putting a smile on your face with some pleasantly cheesy romance, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7.