Film Review: Tiny Times 3.0

Director Guo Jingming’s third installment of Tiny Times, featuring four of the worst, backstabbing girlfriends you’ll never want to meet, scores a new low as most tasteless Chinese blockbuster film perhaps since Tiny Times 2.0. Seriously someone tell me what the f did I just watch? Categorizing Tiny Times 3.0 as a “film” would be shaky at best. Films usually contain elements of plot, character development, logic, and a sane creative team behind it all to bring the story to life. But director Guo, self-described “rule-breaker”, has unwittingly created an infomercial for Fendi handbags against a backdrop of psychotic teenage girls entangled in one emotional outburst after another.

What can be gleaned from the film, plot-wise, stars Lily Gu (Amber Kuo) gaining the allegiance of two previously unknown relatives, a cousin named Neil (Korean pop star Lee Hyun-jae who barely speaks Chinese) and a stepbrother, Chun (Ming Ren). Each of them, along with her, inherited shares of M.E, the company owned by her nemesis, Gong Ming (Vivian Dawson), after Lily’s deceased father split his own shares among them in his will. Now with their combined stake in the company, Lily is poised to take complete ownership as CEO. There’s also the matter of Mini Yang’s dead boyfriend, Bea Layden’s mother being kidnapped by gangsters, but these side plots are piss-poor attempts at generating sympathy for these characters. They’re also completely trivial because who cares, Lily is going to manipulate whoever she wants to be top dog. That’s the real story.

This central storyline is completely immaterial anyway. What really matters in this movie are the cutscenes of hilariously ditzy shopping trips in Rome, their champagne-drenched soirees, and sentimental pop-song montages that heal these girls’ “deep” traumas. It’s typical of big-budget Chinese films to turn up empty on substance, but there’s at least a glossy surface of pretty images propping up a particularly appalling movie-going experience. Tiny Times 3.0 gives no such pleasure because even its CGI look as tacky as a Windows XP screensaver. No doubt the revenue from ad placements and its horde of cow-eyed fans flocking to the theaters will keep the Tiny Times franchise alive long enough for another installment coming soon. Treat this film as you would meth- never, not even once.

Rating: so awful/5

Director: Jingming Guo

Starring: Yang Mi; Ko Chen-tung; Amber Kuo; Chen Xuedong; Haden; Kuo Xie Yilin

Release Date: July 24, 2014

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