This Is Not What I Expected

2017 [CHINESE]

Comedy / Drama / Romance

IMDb Rating 6.7 10 1671

sous chef hotel owner

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Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN
December 01, 2022 at 09:31 AM


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980.3 MB
Chinese 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 46 min
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1.97 GB
Chinese 5.1
24 fps
1 hr 46 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ctowyi 7 / 10

A delectable dish of opposites attract

Naming this rom-com This is Not What I Expected is a misnomer because everything that will happen is expected. This is 1 litre screwball comedy, 2 tablespoons of "opposites attract" and 3 slices of food porn. But make no mistake, even though the odd couple seemed mismatched, they will come together like the desert miss the rain.

Lu Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is the CEO of the VN Group and he is scoping Rosebud Hotel in Shanghai for a acquisition. A food connoisseur, he is not impressed by the dishes the kitchen sends up. Sous-chef Gu Shengnan (Zhou Dongyu) is then tasked to try her hand to impress the eccentric man, but unbeknownst to both of them, they actually had a run-in earlier. Lu is impressed with the dish and proceeds to stay and try more delicacies made by her.

This rom-com is formulaic to a T but any movie buff will tell you that is not important. It is a foregone conclusion that the mismatched coupling will be a love-match made in heaven. The secret ingredient is to create hilarious situations to make them loathsome towards each other and yet give them redeeming qualities.

Lu Jin believes that the world is divided into three categories – the pork eaters, the pork butchers and the pigs. He is eccentric, rude and condescending – the world is beneath him in every scene, but OMG Takeshi Kaneshiro is so good looking and so dashing in his impeccably tailored suits. This coming from a guy, you know he is handsome from every angle and my knees got a little weak just swooning at him. Kaneshiro brings just the right amount of detestable contempt but you will excuse him because he is about to be schooled in the art of food tasting and love.

Gu Shengnan is his equal – opinionated and sure-footed. Excluding Lu's father, I think she is the only character in the whole movie (and probably all the cinema patrons) not sucked in by his good looks and powerful stature. There is a sequence where Lu challenges her to make a different egg dish which demonstrates how talented she is. Zhou Dongyu who won Best Actress at the recent Golden Horse for her excellent performance in Soul Mate is in scintillating form. She is a dork, but likable and feisty, like a delectable dish you can't have enough of. Her face feels like a sponge, soaking up everything life throws at her with the spunk of a child who knows no better.

A lot of the success of a good rom-com depends on the chemistry between the stars and the sparks here feel genuine. There is some good character development on both sides for us to buy into their budding relationship, and enough treacherous detours to make us root for them. The food porn is just extra garnishing for a love dish that is already great.

This is a great date movie but do go in with your tummy filled. It's time to check into Rosebud Hotel and do make a special request for room 1123. Oh my… my knees are becoming weak again.

Reviewed by moviexclusive 7 / 10

A perfect combination of screwball humour, heartfelt intimacy and infectious chemistry, this 'opposites attract' rom-com is 'Michelin-grade' excellent

At its core, 'This is Not What I Expected' is about two diametrically opposite individuals who start off butting heads with each other but end up falling in love.

On one hand is Lu Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro), the CEO of a multibillion international company called VN Group who flies around the world evaluating hotels for their worthiness before deciding whether to acquire them or not.

On the other is Gu Shengnan (Zhou Dongyu), a junior sous-chef at the boutique hotel Rosebud in Shanghai where Lu Jin and his subservient assistant Richard Meng (Sun Yizhou) has just checked into for business (not pleasure, mind you).

It isn't just their statuses that are different; their personalities are just as dissimilar – Lu Jin is a tightly wound, clinical individual who prides himself at being a perfectionist; whereas Shengnan is by and large a free-wheeling lark whose blithe attitude to life is only disturbed by her recent breakup with the hotel's  (douche-bag) general manager Cheng Zixian (a very suave-looking Tony Yang).

As much as scriptwriters Li Yuan and Xu Yimeng draw from the oldest trick in the rom-com playbook, their adaptation of renowned web novelist Lan Bai Se's 'A Long Time Coming' is no means stale. Oh no, the result is quite the contrary in fact. Mixing the familiar elements of an 'opposites attract' rom-com with the ingredients of a culinary comedy has proved quite the inspiration, and even if it does feel familiar on the whole, there's no denying that veteran editor Derek Hui's directorial debut still tastes fresh, delightful and often hilarious.

Benefiting immensely from his years working with some of the best in the industry including Peter Chan himself, Teddy Chan and even Chen Kaige, Hui demonstrates confidence, discipline and clarity right from the get-go, displaying none of the shortcomings that usually plague first-time directors.

That is clear right from the get-go: within the prologue, he establishes succintly not only Lu Jin's exacting standards in the food he eats, but also the businesslike approach with which he handles staff performance, telling an under-performing senior manager seated across a long table that he is fired. And then without letting up, Hui stages the first meet-cute between Lu Jin and Shengnan in a classic case of mistaken identity, as the former catches the latter vandalizing the hood of his car to avenge her heartbroken female buddy Xu Zhaodi (Meng Xi) and only agrees not to call the police after she lets him humiliate her, i.e. by writing on her forehead the telephone number of the company she is supposed to call to fix the damage she caused to his car.

Oh yes, there is a precision to the way Hui approaches his scenes, such that each makes its point without outlasting its welcome. That same exactness also ensures the movie remains pacey – from the point Lu Jin steps into the Rosebud criticizing the customer service, room soundproofing and Michelin-starred food in turn; to his enchantment with the last-minute dish prepared by Shengnan and each one of her exquisitely plated dishes thereafter; to the series of encounters between Lu Jin and Shengnan that reinforce his annoyance towards her before he discovers she is the chef he has been enamored with; and last but not least to the pranks he plays on her before she realizes that he already knows her identity.

There is plenty of screwball humour in between, and before the madcap antics turn repetitive, the second half switches gears for intimacy and even pathos. Over a nicely edited montage, we see Lu Jin turning up unannounced at Shengnan's messy but homely apartment where she lives with her dog named 'Boss', treating her as his personal chef, turning her place into his own home, and in the process discovering a much more human side to himself that he has been repressing. There is both sweetness and tenderness in a whimsical sequence where both hallucinate rain after having some poisonous blowfish for steamboat, and end up taking an umbrella out for a walk around the neighbourhood and on board a bus through Shanghai's beautifully lit streets. A late twist that sees Lin Chiling emerge as Lu Jin's personal chef is somewhat under-developed, but still makes the point of reinforcing how food has been a special bond between their hearts.

And as a final note, it is admirable that Hui stays true to the quirks and eccentricities of his characters as well as their relationship during the heartfelt finale. That same consistency extends to Takeshi Kaneshiro and Zhou Dongyu's performances, so that we not only believe that their characters are authentic but are also invested emotionally in them.

True to its title, 'This is Not What I Expected' is an unexpectedly enjoyable rom-com – the jokes land mostly where they should, the romance is sweet but never cloying, and the presentation is brisk, lively and engaging. It also boasts a pair of leads with sharp comic timing and great chemistry that you'll miss hanging out with the minute it's over, and with the venerable Peter Ho-sun Chan and his regular partner Jojo Hui as producers, you can be assured of a finale that is touching, poignant and genuine. Just be sure not to go into it hungry, because the wonderfully delectable food porn shots within will make sure that it isn't just your heart that will be stirred.

Reviewed by lasttimeisaw 6 / 10

an unapologetically old-fashioned, overly chaste, roundly castle-in-the-air fluff, and it is exactly what I expected

A Chinese chick flick smartly welds a cookie-cutter template of meet-cute with blatant gastronomical seduction and eye-pleasing cityscape which one might infer it might be clandestinely sponsored by Shanghai travel bureau.

The glob-trotting CEO Lu Jin (Kaneshiro), arrives in Shanghai to assess the buy-out of a boutique hotel nestling in the city center, a choosy gourmet, he is overtaken by the dishes prepared by a young chef of the hotel, Gu Shengnan (Zhou Dongyu), with whom he develops a mutual attraction through the food-ordering-and-preparing contest and consecutively a preposterous co-habitation (sans physical contact though) in the latter's center-located oldish apartment, until a hiccup temporarily severs their growing romance, before a climatic confession routinely rigged up to bring them together. Yes, a synopsis can be applied to most commodities in its often derogated genre.

Lu Jin is not a nice person, obnoxious, disengaged, an insufferable obsessive-compulsive germaphobe, but since he is played by a spiffy Takeshi Kaneshiro, all can be forgiven (his repugnant personality has his upbringing to answer for), not to mention his $350 billion net worth, and all thing considered, he is just a lonesome, friendless man who is fostered to have no emotion connection with anyone because of his wealth and status, which will come undone thanks to a slightly loopy girl, who has only 5-year experience in the culinary business but inexplicably can tame his über-demanding stomach.

It goes without saying that the film's success is predominantly hinged on the performance from the two leads and their chemistry, and the outcome is moderately propitious. Having an 18-year age gap to paper over, a 43-year-old Takeshi Kaneshiro manages to hold court with his impeccable youthful mien, and brings both exigency and absurdity to the fore if he strives to without winking at the facile script. For Zhou Dongyu, who was discovered by Zhang Yimou in UNDER THE HAWTHORN TREE (2010), has now magnificently matured into a young, bankable leading actress of her generation, she is the heroine who precludes the film from sinking into an abysmal vanity project through her vaguely cutesy but visceral outpourings when the movie needs them the most. No room is left for its sidelined peripheral roles though, Chiling Lin is vouchsafed with a glamorized cameo and a much cherished reunion with Takeshi since her screen debut in John Woo's RED CLIFF diptych (2008, 2009).

First-time Hong Kong directer Derek Hui does input a few ingenious brainwaves into the cliché-ridden plot, a trippy folie-à-deux occasioned by consuming poisonous pufferfish has serves both as visual novelty and romantic nectar; choosing a local food market when the crunch arrives hews to the tenet of prioritizing Shanghai's vernacular loci over modernized anonymity; and the setting-sun watching finale is an opportune legerdemain to this unapologetically old-fashioned, overly chaste, roundly castle-in-the-air fluff, and this is exactly what I expected!

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