Sophie (Ziyi Zhang) is a dreamer. While working her dull, unexciting job selling vacation packages over the phone she longs for the adventures she dreams up and home and puts on paper. Sophie likes to draw comics and submits them for publication. The latest one features a handsome, suave secret agent, whom she fantasizes about meeting one day. When she wins an all expense paid trip to Singapore that day comes sooner than expected.
Deftly directed by Dennie Gordon, who also used her skill to help make David Spade appealing in “Joe Dirt,” “My Lucky Star” is James Bond-lite – from the opening credits on- with a twist. Here the smart one is Sophie herself, with the occasional help provided by the object of Sophie’s attention and imagination: David (Wang). The story deals with a diamond (the “Lucky Star” of the title) Sophie thinks she won as part of her vacation package. The diamond is being kept in a case built to withstand an atomic blast. When Sophie tries to obtain the diamond she is made to luck the case so that she can only open it. She does this by kissing the case shut, which makes it bad luck for anyone interested in the contents of the mysterious case.
What is amazing about “My Lucky Star” is that it takes what is really a one note concept – artist begins to live her drawings – and turns it into a film that not only holds your imagination but helps to fuel it. Zhang, currently helping to kick box-office butt with the martial arts biography “The Grandmaster,” is perfect as Sophie. Curious as to what life has to offer, Zhang gives Sophie a true sense of naiveté that those around her recognize. Her life is a comic book and she does her best to fit in. In a way, Sophie is a lot like John Cusack’s character, Hoops McCann, in “Better Off Dead.” Zhang is also surrounded by some great on-screen talent, including the handsome Wang, who gives off an aura of coolness with just a glance.
Technically the film is solid. Director Gordon keeps the story flowing smoothly and the photography, by cinematographer Armando Salas, is picture perfect. From Beijing to Macau to Singapore, not an inch of screen time is wasted.