Review: GIRL$ 囡囡 (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Review: GIRL$ 囡囡 (2010)


Review: GIRL$ 囡囡 (2010)

The movie follows four different young women and their experiences of compensated dating (where they get paid to date and mostly end up having sex with their client). Among them are Icy (Michelle Wai), who used to delve into compensated dating but now settled as an agent so she can support and spend more time with her online-game boyfriend (Derek Tsang); Ronnie (Bonnie Xian) is a bored rich girl who gets to know Icy via online chat room agrees to join the trade except that she does them differently -- by sleeping with selected men she prefers and actually pays her clients instead; Lin (Una Lin) who works at the hair salon does it mostly for the money, while enjoying the trade as well (in which she rates every guy she's slept with in her little notebook) and subsequently falling for one of her regular clients (Eric Tse); and finally there's Gucci (Venus Wong), a 16-year-old high school student who is willing to sell her virginity to the highest bidder so she can pay for her expensive limited edition Gucci handbag. Despite their varied reasons getting themselves in such trade, the four become good friends and frequently hanging out together, while facing difficult and sometimes threatening situation connected by the compensated dating lifestyle.


REVIEW: Kenneth Bi's controversial follow-up to his 2007's THE DRUMMER, GIRL$ is a gritty Category-III movie that tackles on the current internet-savvy generation of youth prostitution and compensated dating. It's also a rare movie that made good use of its notorious rating system to justify the controversial subject matter and a Hong Kong movie with uniquely local flavour -- something we hardly get to see these days.

Subject matter that tackles in this movie is definitely nothing new, but director Kenneth Bi manages to make the picture absorbing enough to keep the viewers interested. There are plenty of cinematic styles and kinetic rhythm, with sharp editing and of course copious nudity and sex scenes (courtesy mostly of Una Lin). It helps too especially the four up-and-coming young actresses actually perform surprisingly well. Of all the girls, Michelle Wai and Bonnie Xian are both standouts for their edgy performances.

The story, in the meantime, is slickly paced and especially interesting when Kenneth Bi successfully reflected today's game-changing society where young women and men trade for sex online and via text messaging with a believable manner. Bi's favour to film his picture with semi-documentary style creates all the more involving atmosphere.

Still, the movie is not without its few flaws. There are some plot holes hardly resolved here -- among them are the depraved killer who is out killing and dismembered working girls, which featured in the beginning of the movie but quickly thrown out of the window; subplot about Gucci's horny brother (Deep Ng) is half-developed which also get lost in the midway, and lastly the ripped-from-the-headlines HIV storyline (about a client posting a list of possibly infected girls online) is wasted with little impact.

Overall, GIRL$ isn't much an accomplished effort that could have used more depth to the scenario but as far as a rare Category-III movie like this one goes, it's fairly recommended guilty pleasure with social relevance.

GIRL$ is uneven, but recommendable Category-III drama that reflects on today's internet-savvy generation of teen prostitution and compensated dating.

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