Didi’s Dreams [Didi’s Dream]

(Taiwan/China 2017)

Just in time for summer, Didi’s Dreams [吃吃的愛] is the cinematic equivalent of a glass of lemonade: cool, refreshing, and sweet with a slightly tart afterburn, it’s a real treat on a hot day. Too bad its North American run is an extremely limited one.

An intentionally fluffy melodrama, the story follows the misadventures of its titular character, Didi (Dee Hsu), a hungry young twenty-something wannabe actress. Determined to catch her big break, she auditions for anything: a probiotic commercial, a model on a QVC-type shopping network, an extra in a zombie flick, a female wrestler. She’s not exactly picky, calculated, or disciplined about getting there—she just wants to be famous. To her credit—and the dismay of many a producer and director—she’s earnest in her efforts.

Didi’s boyfriend, Xiao-kou (Scar Kim), literally rolls along with her, carting her around on his scooter. He proves to be her rock when she receives devastating news from her doctor (Chuan-cheng Tao).

Didi has a sister, Lingling (Lin Chi-lin), who also happens to be an actress—a famous one like Didi aims to be. Some bad blood between them after their mother died, shown mainly through flashbacks, caused a falling out. As a result, they haven’t spoken in years. A scandal, a TV talk show, and a twist of fate (or maybe just a publicity stunt) bring them together—cast as sisters in a major motion picture.

While all this goes on, Didi has a recurring dream about Chunmei (also played by Hsu), her psychic alterego who runs an interplanetary noodle shop in, um, outer space. Her clientele is a creature cantina of sorts. Chunmei can’t seem to get over losing her love, and it’s affecting her broth. One particular customer, an astronaut (Zifeng Li), holds her attention. While not immediately clear, a connection to Didi comes through as the story progresses.

Director Kevin Tsai keeps it mostly light here, serving up a tangy mix of comedy, tragedy, and fantasy in a wink-wink soap opera way—more Telemundo than Dynasty. Tsai and Ming-Yi Liao’s screenplay is not at all deep, but it’s packed with surprises despite a few sappy clichés. I like where the narrative goes.

Visually, Didi’s Dreams is a colorful stunner, loaded with cute faces, vivid imagery, snazzy sets, and cool costumes. Jing-Pin Yu’s cinematography glistens; it’s slick without going overboard. I can’t imagine enjoying this film as much without it. It all looks great on the big screen—my favorite scenes are at the noodle shop and that probiotic commercial.

Yes, there are flaws. However, the whole thing is put together so well, I easily forgave them. I could’ve done without the remake of “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s over the closing credits, but the analogy is apt. Didi’s Dreams is a fun little sparkler that caught me off guard.

With Jin Shijia, David Chao, William Shen, Vincent Liang, Bruce Chen, Junior Han, Gigi Lin, Vila Fan, Yu-Lin Shen, Hank Chen, Tender Huang, Riva Chang, Berry Wen-i Kuo

Production: Cheng Cheng Films

Distribution: Le Vision Pictures, Atom Cinema, Kbro HK Limited

91 minutes
Not rated

(ShowPlace ICON) B-

http://www.chengchengfilm.com/didis-dreams-1/

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