Verdict: You would probably like it if you like chick flicks, and not if otherwise.
A cross between Freaky Friday and Seventeen Again, Sudden Seventeen 28岁未成年 is a fun, heartwarming, albeit cliched chick flick that surprisingly does not have a romantic message. It’s also a monumental tribute to the beauty of Ni Ni.
“Today is the tenth day of Summer (Ni Ni) being a perfect housewife. Like the 3650 days before today, she got up at 7 am, had perfect hair and a perfect outfit, made breakfast, and is ready for her beau (Wallace Huo) to awake up. But today was different. She had seen a ring in his coat and he was going to propose.”
When it turns out the ring was for someone else, Summer breaks down and in the midst of her breakdown, sees an advertisement for chocolates that will make her happy again. It turns out that a bite of the chocolate makes her … drumroll…. seventeen again.
Seventeen-year-old Summer is rebellious and fearless, and dreams of love and a future as a world-famous artist. In fact, on her second chocolate, she meets and falls for a motorcyclist (Wang Talu), draws him, and becomes Internet famous after he posts her work online. Seventeen-year-old Summer proceeds to get in a series of mischiefs while twenty-eight-year-old Summer struggles to recreate the drawings for her beau. As she shifts between her past and present self, will the two Summer’s find their way?
Ni Ni is naturally charming in both of her roles, and shows the world that she can totally sell an idol drama if only someone gave her a good offer. Her stylist deserves 1000/100 for how good she looks while staying in character for both her personalities. Darren Wang is perfect as the spunky biker confused about what he wants himself. Despite both actors being far from teenagers, the two did an excellent job of selling the excitement and uncertainty of young love.
Wallace Huo lent minimal charm to his already unlikable character, but that might have been intentional. Ma Su was a caricature. Luckily, neither characters required much charm to work.
Pacing, usually my biggest issue with many Chinese commercial films, was spot on. Set design and whoever did Summer’s paintings are also perfect for the film.
The ending was in-your-face cheesy and a bit too cringy for me, but the story and execution overall works well as a fun, feel-good story about finding what makes you happy and living to the fullest. I’m definitely looking forward to more from first-time director Zhang Mo. Also, I need Ni Ni in an idol drama so I can just look at her pretty outfits and face for 40 episodes straight.