Review: One Night Stud (Film Review), One Night Stud (2015)

Thu, 2 Jun 2016ReviewsAndy Chan, Chang Fangyuan, Chen Zhiwei, Jiang Yiyan, Lai Yiu-fai, Li Xinman, Li Yaohui, Rom-com, Shi Chunling, Yu Xiao, Zheng Kaisinocinema

One Night Stud


China, 2015, colour, 2.35:1, 105 mins.

Đang xem: One night stud

Director: Li Xinman 李欣蔓.

Rating: 5/10.

The ingredients fail to click in this wannabe cheeky spin on the rom-com genre.



Beijing, Nov 2011. Zuo Xiaoxin (Jiang Yiyan) is a successful architect, a black belt in taekwondo, and has a car, a flat and a wacky mother (Shi Chunling). Three months short of 30, she now wants a child but thinks men are useless and sex is purely for procreation. She asks a bodybuilder friend at her gym, Xie Dongping (Chen Zuoshen), if he’ll donate his sperm for RMB200,000, but he feels insulted by her request. Attending a wedding along with BFFs Dan Qi (Chang Fangyuan) and Bai Xue (Tan Shasha), she spots serial womaniser Zha Yi (Zheng Kai), 26, a TV host who is providing some entertainment along with his pals, Ertiao (Yu Xiao) and the geeky Shisan (Yu Jiameng). Both agree to take on the other in a competition of words; he loses, they end up in Hotel Bird’s Nest, and after having sex she throws him out. One year and nine months later Zuo Xiaoxin is about to celebrate the first birthday of her baby son, Songsong (Wang Yingran). After reading in a baby manual that a child needs to be held for three hours by a parent of the same sex on its first birthday, Zuo Xiaoxin reluctantly invites Zha Yi round to perform the duty. Although Zha Yi has just been sacked (again), and thrown out of his parents’ house, Zuo Xiaoxin kicks him out once the three hours are up. Ertiao and Shisan try various ruses to bring the two together again, but are unsuccessful. In the meantime, Ertiao starts romancing Dan Qi, who is a sales manager at a property company. Eventually, Zuo Xiaoxin thaws and, one romantic evening, spends time with Zha Yi. But she still won’t let him be a real father to their child, let alone marry her.


Many of the rom-com ingredients are in place but the mixture stubbornly fails to click in One Night Stud 有种你爱我, a wannabe cheeky spin on the genre that even manages to weave the issue of “sperm theft” into the traditional formulae. The two protagonists this time are a 30-year-old career woman who thinks men are useless but needs one briefly in order to get pregnant, and a cocky young TV host who’s a serial womaniser with no desire to get pinned down. It’s a promising set-up for the usual rom-com antics but is holed by a script that doesn’t establish any overall tone, direction that has no feel for comedy or its rhythms, and a serious piece of miscasting among the leads.

It’s a disappointing change of pace by writer-director Li Xinman 李欣蔓, who made an interesting feature debut a couple of years ago with her drama BeLoved 亲•爱 (2013), centred on a Shanghai businesswoman’s emotional identity when she’s brought face to face with her long-lost birth-mother. Slickly mounted and with a solid lead in actress Yu Nan 余男, BeLoved was a generally thoughtful exploration of the various issues but light on emotional clout due to a script that made the central character more reactive than proactive. The main problems with One Night Stud also stem from its script, which can’t decide on what it really wants to be – an opposites-attract rom-com, an issue-driven comedy-romance, or simply a goofy romp – and isn’t directed by Li with any feel for screen humour.

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The film lacks any kind of consistent visual style or rhythm, with the camera – under Hong Kong d.p. Li Yaohui 黎耀辉 – aimlessly gliding between the characters instead of positioning them in any meaningful way within the frame, and the editing – by Hong Kong’s Chen Zhiwei 陈志伟 – not establishing any rhythm with the dialogue. To be fair to Li and Chen, they’re working with a writer-director who seems more comfortable in rom than com, and with a script that’s not exactly high on memorable repartee in the first place. Even in the fantasy inserts that are meant to perk up the going, the genre parodies – apart from the spoofs on samurai and Peking Opera movies – aren’t especially funny.

Li has done her homework on rom-coms, and many of the familiar ingredients are there. Each of the leads has his/her BFFs to confide in and as a support chorus (kudos here to Yu Xiao 于笑 on the male side and Chang Fangyuan 常方源 – the murdered girl in Mystery 浮城谜事 <2012> – on the female side); the female lead has a wacky mother (nicely played by TV/theatre actress Shi Chunling 师春玲); and so on. But the characters swim around in a screenplay that has no clear sense of what to do with them and no sense of direction either: after the first half-hour, the film basically becomes a series of skits and short episodes.

More seriously, the most important ingredient of any rom-com – the sense of the two leads ever making a pair, and of the viewer willing them on – is absent. For a start, the screenplay gives no good reason for them to get together romantically, and has to resort to a manufactured finale in Okinawa; and also there’s only minimal chemistry between the lead actors. In the type of role he can play in his sleep, Zheng Kai 郑恺 (Personal Tailor 私人订制, 2013; EX-Files 前任攻略, 2014) is okay as the serial womaniser who finally gets the paternal itch. But top-billed Jiang Yiyan 江一燕, who’s fine playing femme fatales (The Bullet Vanishes 消失的子弹, 2012; The Vanished Murderer 消失的凶手, 2015) or swordswomen (The Four II 四大名捕II, 2013), has no feeling for comedy at all, making her man-hating career woman a tad unpleasant rather than just ditzy. Though it’s equally the fault of the script, the two faces of her character are also unbelievable as part of the same person, even in rom-com terms.

The film’s Chinese title roughly means “You Need Balls to Love Me” or “If You’ve Got the Balls, Love Me”.


Presented by Cayie Movie & Video Communication (CN), Fun High Films (CN), Zhujiang Film Group (CN). Produced by Cineway Films (CN).

Script: Li Xinman, Zhang Yaozhi. Script advice: Jia Zhijie . Photography: Li Yaohui . Editing: Chen Zhiwei . Music: Chen Hongli. Art direction: Li Zhuoyi. Costumes: Zhang Yao. Sound: Zhang Jinyan. Action: Wu Di. Special effects: A Donglin. Animation: Yang Dengyun, Wei Ming.

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Cast: Jiang Yiyan (Zuo Xiaoxin), Zheng Kai (Zha Yi), Yu Xiao (Ertiao), Yu Jiameng (Shisan), Chang Fangyuan (Dan Qi), Chen Zuoshen (Xie Dongping), Liu Sha (Zha Yuejin, Zha Yi’s father), Shi Chunling (Zuo Rufen, Zuo Xiaoxin’s mother), Li Changlin (Zha Yi’s grandfather), Tan Shasha (Bai Xue), Hasi Gaowa (Li Li’na), Wang Yingran (Zuo Songsong, Zuo Xiaoxin’s baby son), Wang Lei (rich Shandong suitor), Tao Shuai (dating man at cafe), Guo Tingting (Cantonese nanny), Majia Mayao (sperm-bank salesman), Wang Dawei (Zu, manager), De Xinxin (Wei, Zuo Xiaoxin’s senior work colleague), Ren Ke (mother’s boy at bar), Cao Mengge (his sexy date), Chen Fusheng (pigheaded officer), Pang Baiyang (soldier).

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