Text by Zhao Xuan
Finding Mr. Right
Despite stiff competition from big-budget Hollywood action flicks A Good Day to Die Hard and Resident Evil: Retribution, the Chinese romantic comedy Finding Mr. Right has made a remarkable box office run since its premiere on March 21, 2013. The film grossed 100 million yuan in only six days. By April 5, the figure had reached 350 million yuan, making the film the most successful of its kind released outside of the New Year period.
The film features a simple and even formulaic plot: Wen Jiajia (Tang Wei) is dating a wealthy man. When she gets pregnant, Jiajia travels to Seattle in hopes that her baby will be born an American citizen. While waiting for the baby’s arrival, Jiajia is befriended by Frank, a Chinese father who immigrated to the United States to get his daughter better education. Jiajia hires Frank as her driver and caretaker, but even after a falling out with her rich boyfriend, Frank continues to take care of her, which ignites romance between the two.
Many moviegoers have compared the film to the 1993 classic romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle. Although the two films’ plots differ drastically, some details of Finding Mr. Right were inspired by Sleepless in Seattle. For instance, both films are set in Seattle, and the climaxes of both unfold with profession of love atop the Empire State Building in New York City. Frank’s daughter in Finding Mr. Right is similar to Tom Hanks’ character’s son in Sleepless in Seattle, both integral supporting characters who drive the plot. Further paying homage to the ‘93 classic, Jiajia in Finding Mr. Right was even written as a fan of Sleepless in Seattle.
Finding Mr. Right is a Hollywood-style rom-com incorporating many topics familiar in today’s China, such as Chinese women giving birth in the United States, surrogate pregnancy, and homosexuality. In the film, Frank was a successful physician in China before becoming a stay-at-home dad in the U.S., and Jiajia transforms from an impulsive mistress into a strong-minded single mother. Despite (or due to) the familiarity of its story, the film resonated exceptionally with Chinese moviegoers.