Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fated To Love You Review (2008)

Drama Rating: ****
Personal Rating: All Time Favourite!

Chen Xin Yi is an office lady having some trouble keeping her boyfriend focused on her. In an attempt to salvage their relationship, she plans for a romantic love cruise in which she would gift her virginity to her boyfriend. Director Ji Cun Xi, a wealthy heir to a cleaning products company, was planning to propose to his long-time girlfriend and ballet dancer Anna on the exact same cruise. Unfortunately, Anna had a ballet engagement and due to various mix-ups, Xin Yi ends up in bed with Cun Xi, who was still under the impression he was with Anna. What happens when Xin Yi later finds out she is pregnant from that fateful night and what will happen to their relationships?

*Spoiler warning*

As a general rule of thumb, I'm fairly picky about the Taiwanese dramas that I do watch since a lot of the idol dramas are really rather over the top and quite childish (think Romantic Princess) in every way. To be honest, I was actually a little skeptical of this drama when starting out as it had some of the trademarks of being over the top. But as I got deeper and deeper into the story, I began to get hooked on the storyline.  What began as an over-the-top joke developed into something more meaningful as the characters' relationships evolved. In the end, I felt quite attached to the two main leads and found myself rooting them on.

The general direction of the story was very well done and I certainly applaud the scriptwriters for keeping the drama light and captivating despite the sometimes serious issues they address. All the same, there were certainly plot loopholes and logical fallacies that generally plague dramas and although they were rather numerous, they didn't overly impact my impression of the story.

The strength of this drama was firmly based on the chemistry between the two leads. Ethan Ruan's Ji Cun Xi and Joe Chen's Chen Xin Yi.  While their acting was fairly decent, this was clearly a case of the pair being more than the sum of its parts. Ji Cun Xi and Chen Xin Yi truly shine as lovers 'meant' for each other and their interactions on screen are priceless. From sadness to anger to joy to happiness, the sincerity and intensity of their raw emotions toward each other's characters felt real and genuine. This made it a real pleasure to watch this drama despite some weaknesses in other areas.  Baron Chen's Dylan and Bianca Bai's Anna were part of these weaknesses. Their acting left a bit to be desired as Dylan seemed like an underwhelming rival to Cun Xi and Anna's overbearing nature left me wondering what made Cun Xi fall for her in the first place. Generally, the supporting cast did their jobs well to support the main leads and I'd especially like to give kudos to Lin Mei Xiu and Na Wei Xun for playing a deliciously droll mother to Xin Yi and a highly amusing personal assistant to Cun Xi respectively.

There were a plethora of catchy tunes from this drama including '99次我愛他' (99 Times I love him), '心願便利貼' (Wishes of a Sticky Note), '半情歌' (Half of a Love Song) and '我的快樂' (My Happiness). While they are a bit cheesy and feel a bit juvenile, they certainly capture the essence of this drama quite well and form a unifying part of the drama. So even though this was nowhere near the greatest drama OST of all time, it was perfectly suited for this drama - and sometimes that's all that's needed!

Fun, fun, fun! I had a lot of fun with this series and I thoroughly enjoyed all the interactions between Ji Cun Xi and Chen Xin Yi. There were a lot of quirky and light moments sprinkled throughout a drama which certainly had its share of depressing and sad incidents. Various appearances by Lin Mei Xiu (Xin Yi's mother) and Na Wei Xun (Cun Xi's assistant) were highly anticipated and made for some hilarious comedy. So while plot loopholes and various minor problems lowered the overall quality of this drama a little, they rarely, if ever, affected my enjoyment of it. I would definitely give this drama a convincing two thumbs up without hesitation!

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