I am not a fan of the now-defunct Taiwanese talk show Mr Con & Ms Csi, which I know ended abruptly last year. It was a hugely successful TV programme that was not afraid to grill its guests with difficult questions and it is not surprising that it had garnered a legion of fans. With Didi’s Dreams, the fans are reminded of how much they miss the dynamic duo – Mr Con (Kelvin Tsai) is the director and Ms Csi (Dee Hsu) is everything including the kitchen sink. Get ready for pizzazz and a zany ride on the wild side.
Didi (Dee Hsu) is an aspiring actress who can’t catch a break, but she will stop at nothing to realise her dream of becoming an actress like her superstar sister Lingling (Lin Chi-ling). At night, she dreams of her alter-ego, a noodle seller in outer space. Then one day, at the doctor’s, Didi receives distressing news…
Being a fan of the beloved series, one would immediately catch all the inside jokes, especially the cameos by the show’s frequent guest stars such as Evonne Sie and Chen Han-dian. Even the casting of supermodel Lin Chi-ling is probably a deliberate choice since she was often verbally jabbed by Hsu for being prettier than her. Unfortunately, I knew nothing of the series, but I do enjoyed this film for what it is – a wacky and goofy satirical look-in into the internal workings of popular talk shows and the farcical audition process of movie studios.
Tsai and Hsu are in their element as they milked the situations for what they are worth and more. Hsu, especially was gamed enough to look “ugly” for the camera, earning huge guffaws along the way. In one scene she is a wriggling germ and in another she is a zombie who refuses to die. Both scenes show her desperate for screen time. Tsai, in his directorial debut, shows off his philosophical musings via voice-over narration. At one instance, he enthuses that our best memories feel like a dream, and we should never feel sad when it is all over because at least we can still dream it.
IMHO Didi’s Dreams works only in parts and the sum total didn’t quite hit its mark. The dream sequences of noodle seller, also acted by Hsu, don’t feel symbiotic with the rest of the film, so in that respect the ending flourish was only decent and didn’t quite hit a resounding crescendo. Lastly, I literally shook my head when Didi receives that piece of sad news from the doc. This is like the number one cliché of Chinese dramas (you already know what I am talking about eh) and it feels like a poor choice in choosing to go down this typical road of melodramatic infinite sadness, but that last flourish did earn back some good graces.
There is still a lot of fun to be had and it is not a poor film by any means. It is a hoot to see Didi go through all the crazy auditions and I love how the narrative takes jumps in unexpected directions.
3 / 5
A fitting Sodagreen song sung by Dee Hsu here.