What is the story about?
Four best friends from school deal with mid-life crises and unfulfilled dreams as they regularly get together for bubble tea.
Considering Netflix’s sudden surge of interest in prestigious titles coming out of Taiwan, it would be fairly easy to think of Classmates Minus as the male mirror-image of Little Big Women, that came out a few weeks ago. Both films use quirky humour to deal with myriad themes such as loneliness, fidelity in marriage and the general pains of existence. But where Little Big Women scored in terms of how it sought to humanize the foibles of men even in its feminist narrative, Classmates Minus has absolutely no idea of the female view-point at all. Huang Hsin-Yao, who directs this film, is content letting his four leads deal with their ennui and boredom, crafting a narrative that relies a little too much on absurd scenarios and offbeat humour to talk about male bonding. However, for a film that satirizes women and marriage a lot, the film never really moves beyond caricaturing women as objects of desire. Even Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was a much more balanced film that celebrated male bonding without cheapening women. The result, therefore, is a film that is strictly average.
Cheng Jen-shuo is okay as Dianfeng, who struggles with his anxieties regarding career, aging and fatherhood. Liu Kuan-ting portrays the stuttering Blockage, who makes effigies for a living, and bemoans the lack of romance in his life. Nadow plays Guantou, who still nurses a crush on a girl from high-school, while Shih Ming-Shuai is okay as A-tian, a small-time director dogged by ill-luck, who suddenly finds himself thrust in the spotlight of politics.
Music & Other Departments
The cinematography and background score are strictly average and go well with the quirky, absurd narrative.
It is definitely the scene where Guantou runs into his high school crush after years, and discovers to his horror that she has become a sex worker.
The film loses its novelty after a point.
Did I enjoy it?
It’s okay, but nothing memorable.
Do I recommend it?
Watch it only if you have nothing else to do.