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Wished

Critic:

Michael Brennan

|

Posted on:

24 Feb 2022

Film Reviews
Wished
Directed by:
Dayyan Eng
Written by:
Justin Malen and Dayyan Eng
Starring:
Xia Yu, Yan Ni, Victoria Song, Pan Binlong, David Wu
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What happens when an insurance salesman is offered 19 of his childhood wishes by a mischievous "Earth Goddess"? Carnage, destruction, high jinks and hilariousness.

Wished is a 2017 romance/fantasy Chinese film that created a name for itself thanks to its awards triumph, winning accolades at the Chinese American Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Awards and New York Film Awards for editing, acting, and cinematography. From its hilarious premise to its bonkers characters, Wished is a surprisingly charming film that captures romance and fantasy perfectly.

The film starts with the Earth Goddess, played by Yan Ni, telling the audience how she playfully tinkers with people's daily lives so they "do good". We quickly learn that her next client/victim is Ma, a thirtysomething salesman whose life isn't going so well.

 

After being invited to speak to a room full of students about his career, Ma Fendou, played by Xia Yu, realises that his career in the family business isn't all it's cracked up to be. After breaking up with his longtime girlfriend, Ren Shanshan, played by K-pop's Victoria Song, a collection of unfortunate events propels Ma to question his life and his choices. From his relationships to his career, Ma thought his life would be "more", which is a profound and relatable statement. He gets wrapped up in the idea of "what should've been", or better yet, "what could have been", which is a sad, relatable and heartbreaking moment to watch.

 

Seeing her moment to cause some mischievous fun, Earth Goddess Shangguan Furong enters Ma's life and tells him that she will grant 19 of his childhood wishes. At first, Ma doesn't believe a word of what she is saying, and he goes on to live his day-to-day life without a care in the world. However, this is when the fantasy elements kick into high gear, and strange things begin to occur. From wacky hairdos, his desire for his childhood teacher, to acquiring the skills of the legendary basketball player Michael Jordan, Ma's life is turned completely upside down. From this point on, the film embraces its incredibly camp and comedic fantasy elements, taking us on a wild cinematic experience.

 

However, despite screenplay writers Dayyan Eng and Justin Malen's best efforts, the film lacks a consistent tone and rhythm. Unfortunately, Wished jumps from one scene to the next with no real sense of purpose or intention, hindering the story's overall impact. Each scene feels slightly disjointed from the last, which is a real shame.

 

Aside from those minor issues, the film is exceptional and is undoubtedly worth checking out. It's as romantic, hilarious, and above all, slightly absurd (in the best way). While Wished is somewhat predictable in the story department, its predictability doesn't take anything away from its satisfying (and hilarious) ending. The highlight of this film is Earth Goddess Shangguan Furong, played by Yan Ni. Not only does she introduce herself like a pro, but her sharp quips are what make this film so delightful. Ni injects a degree of comedy into the role that keeps you entertained and connected from start to finish.

About the Film Critic
Michael Brennan
Michael Brennan
Theatrical Release