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September 25th, 2000 Issue #13

Hong Kong Digital is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- a film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong Kong Filmography.

PR Girls
(1998; Brilliant Idea Group) 4/10

Cover image courtesy Mei Ah.

Ching chun woon jo gaau jai

Qing chun yuan zhu jiao ji

Youth Helps When Living Life

Grace Lam Nga-Sze. Image courtesy Mei Ah.

Talented screenwriter Matt Chow Hoi-kwong (TOO MANY WAYS TO BE NO. 1, BIO-ZOMBIE, BULLETS OVER SUMMER, JULIET IN LOVE) penned and also stepped behind the camera to helm this hostess drama, another entry in a genre seemingly unique to Hong Kong cinema.

Sherming Yiu Lok-Yi. Image courtesy Mei Ah.

The episodic film follows the lives of several bargirls, including Baby (Grace Lam Nga-sze), who is determined to make her fortune by age 25 and will do anything for money, Matilda (Sherming Yiu Lok-yi), who had an encounter with a well-endowed gweilo soccer player that left her repulsed by sex, Kwan (Angela Tong Ying-ying), who is up to her ears in debt, and their mamasan Julia (Liz Kong Hei-man) who, starting to tire of the girls' foibles and the uncouth customers, longs for the predictability and security of marriage.

Moses Chan Ho and Liz Kong Hei-Man. Image courtesy Mei Ah.

Like GIRLS WITHOUT TOMORROW 1992, the film tries to get away with as much as it can, within the parameters of Category II, so there is some topless nudity, a little softcore, and a smattering of S & M. There is also no real story to speak of, just an on-going glimpse into the lives of the characters, their clients, and the girls' lives outside of the club. The cinematography, music, and attractive cast hold one's attention and the film thankfully steers clear of the absurdly overdone melodrama that makes some hostess movies (notably CALL GIRL 1988) so hard to take. However, given Chow's past credits, one cannot help but be disappointed by the way in which the film never really aspires to say anything or contribute a new take on the profession. Instead, it merely grows increasingly hard-to-swallow and ends up seeming like little more than a waste of time. Wayne Lai Yiu- cheung has a memorable supporting role as a drug-crazed nut with a fetish for Baby, cross-dressing, and Hello Kitty toys. The director can be spotted briefly, at about the two thirds mark, as a particularly randy patron.

Wayne Lai Yiu-Cheung. Image courtesy Mei Ah.

DVD Specs:

Mei Ah #DVD-193
Dolby Digital (2.1 and 5.1 options)
Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks
Optional subtitles in English, Chinese (Traditional or Simplified), Korean, Bahasa Malaysia, Japanese, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Thai
9 chapters illustrated in the menu with stills
Letterboxed (1.65:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
Category IIB
88 minutes

DVD menu courtesy Mei Ah.


Mei Ah has given PR GIRLS a nice presentation on DVD. The image is sharp and the print looks brand new. The infamous "digital cheesecloth" look found on many of the company's discs is mildly present here, too, but not a major distraction. Outside of a couple wildly unstable vertical lines, compression flaws are minimal and brief when they do appear. Both the Cantonese (sync sound) and Mandarin tracks are available in either a 5.1 re-mix or the 2.1 originals; there is little difference between them. All sound a bit compressed and bass-heavy but adequate. Extras consist of the theatrical trailer, trailers for MAGNIFICENT TEAM and TAKE FIVE, an English/Chinese cast/crew listing and plot synopsis, and "Here Comes Three Spicy Girls," a three minute puff piece (with optional Chinese and English subs only) that offers nothing of value to anyone who has already seen the film. There are no time functions.

Angela Tong Ying-Ying. Image courtesy Mei Ah.

Copyright © John Charles 2000. All Rights Reserved.

Hong Kong Digital is presented in association with Hong Kong Entertainment News In Review