Hong Kong Digital
is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- associate
editor / film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author
of The Hong Kong Filmography.
This low-budget comedy/drama from director Sherman Wong Ching-wah (SEX AND THE EMPEROR) is Ellen Chan Ar-lun's first movie since she was allegedly blacklisted in 1995 for publicly alluding that Wong Jing has a "casting couch" policy when it comes to leading ladies. She plays Ruby Chan, a former talk radio hostess who was fired for quarrelling with her boss (hmmmm). Ruby now runs a beauty salon where she is visited by friends like Eva (Iris Chai Chi-yiu), who likes to fantasize about being raped by stylist Mark, and Yan (Catherine Hung Yan), who used to date Mark but now has the hots for middle-aged East Indian guys. Also on duty at the salon is tomboy receptionist Moon (Sherming Yiu Lok-yee, mugging shamelessly), who invariably ends up with girls that drain away all of her money. Ruby is frequently called upon for advice by her lovelorn friends but she, too, is frustrated because her photographer boyfriend is more interested in the concept of love than actual sex. Although devastated by Yan's announcement that she is marrying someone else, Mark continues to believe that the woman still belongs to him. Ruby has admired Mark from afar for sometime and, with her own boyfriend heading to Europe for "artistic inspiration," this may be Ruby's chance to start up a relationship with her favorite employee.
Ellen Chan Ar-Lun. Image courtesy Universe.
Shot-on-video movies from HK production companies are so consistently lame, one wishes that video manufacturers were required to put "Shot on Video" or "Made for Video" somewhere on the packaging, so consumers would know in advance and steer clear. The main joke here is having characters lapse into (tame) sexual daydreams and inadvertently make fools of themselves while others watch. It is only mildly amusing the first time but is repeated ad nauseum anyway, along with old "electric eyes," nosebleed, and talking "Little Brother" gags we have all seen before. The dramatic content is equally feeble, with obvious lessons about drinking and date rape woven into the narrative like some sort of moral square-up. There is also the usual primitive moralizing about homosexuality, as Ruby quite seriously tells Moon that she is too attractive to be a lesbian and that her problems would vanish if she would just find a good man and "become a real woman." In an odd post production mistake, there are two Catherine Hungs listed in the opening English credits but the second one is actually Iris Chai, as correctly indicated by the Chinese characters. Tats Lau Yee-tat has a superfluous (but admittedly offbeat) cameo as a sugar daddy.