Driven by the support for Xinyao, I watched 我的朋友, 我的同学, 我爱过的一切 (That Girl In Pinafore) and to be honest, it fell short of my expectations.
It was a poor attempt at replicating the quirky elements of 那些年, 我们一起追的女孩 (You Are the Apple of My Eye) rendering many scenes crude and vulgar. The plot was not unpredictable and there were several parallels to its predecessor Xinyao-themed movie 轨道 (The Road less Travelled) in 1996.
Several scenes were superficially played out, like the last night that Jiaming and May spent before May left for the States and their rendezvous in New York. Contrast to the scenes in 那些年 the night where Ko-teng and Chiayi had their HTHT before the release of their results and their vacation date.
Nevertheless, there were good aspects to the movie: the heart-wrenching funeral scene and the reunion of the pack at Beer Market with the flashbacks of the younger days were pretty evoking. Also, the rehashed Xinyao songs (黎明的心, 你的倒影, 麻雀衔竹枝) gave a refreshing feel to these golden hits. I especially like the slower, more emo version of 细水长流.
I don't think the producers had wanted it to be compared to 那些年 but the similarities in themes and style made the comparison inevitable which sort of amplified the critics.