BEAUTIFUL ACCIDENT (2017) short review

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Ho Wi Ding’s Beautiful Accident is the latest installment in that subgenre of comedy where a supernatural occurrence or a unique time lapse brings new perspective to the lead character – think Groundhog Day or Miss Granny. Here, Gwei Lun Mei plays Li Yu Ran, a proudly lonely, career-driven lawyer who after a car accident finds herself in the offices of Fate, where she is told that her death was a clerical error and that she will be able to reintegrate her body in a week. But by then, she is to take the place of a recently-deceased mother. With no choice but to accept, Li Yu Ran finds herself catapulted in the life of a housewife, with an overworked husband (Chen Kun), a resentful teenage daughter (Nana Ouyang), and a young son who is the only to sense this is not his real mother. Droll situations ensue, peppered with the dime-store wisdom and rote use of serendipity often displayed in the subgenre, though the film is quite inspired in its depiction of the offices of Fate as a bureaucratic mess peopled with half-competent employees, let by a delightful Wang Jingchun. This is mostly a one-woman show, and as often in her more commercial film, Gwei Lun Mei overacts wildly; it can be jarring at first, but when the film becomes more heartfelt, she actually brings it much-needed subtlety. Chen Kun laudably steps back to a supporting function, though he puzzlingly often seems to be playing his character as slightly mentally retarded. All in all this is an entertaining and visually pleasing, but unmemorable little comedy. **1/2

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