Review: VULGARIA 低俗喜劇 (2012) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Review: VULGARIA 低俗喜劇 (2012)

Review: VULGARIA 低俗喜劇 (2012)

A top-notch Hong Kong comedy at its best, Pang Ho-Cheung's VULGARIA is a hilarious satire that pokes fun at the Hong Kong movie industry (particularly Category III genre) and of course, low-budget filmmaking in general. The first two scenes are particularly the funniest ones that had me laughing nonstop. It opens with a sleazy producer named To Wai-Cheung (Chapman To) who is being interviewed by his old friend Professor Cheng (Lawrence Cheng) inside an auditorium filled with film students, to discuss the nature of producing a movie. Among the hilarious part is how To compares his job as a producer to human pubic hair (a vulgar, but inspiring metaphor nonetheless). Next up, is another memorable part on how To recounts an unfortunate incident in which he was forced to do something unpleasant for the sake of funding a movie. Introduced by his best friend Lui (Simon Lui), both of them head over to Guangxi and meets a triad head named Tyrannosaurus (Ronald Cheng) at a favourite restaurant. Tyrannosaurus has a peculiar taste, especially the way he introduces both of them all the so-called signature weird dishes. But nothing comes weirder than Tyrannosaurus' taste of "woman". Not human, that is but rather a mule. In order to seal the deal of getting the fund, both To and Lui must have sex with two mules specially brought over for them. And there's more: Tyrannosaurus is specifically wanted To to remake a 1976 period erotic classic CONFESSION OF A CONCUBINE and only wants his favourite star, Siu Yam-Yam (Susan Shaw) to play the leading role all over again. So To calls out Siu Yam-Yam to propose his idea for the CONFESSION OF A CONCUBINE remake. But since the original version has aged over 30 years ago, it's natural that the now-older Siu Yam-Yam feels unpleasant to strip anymore (you'll get the picture). Nevertheless, Siu Yam-Yam rejects his offer, but To must find way to fulfil Tyrannosaurus' pet project no matter what. Enter wannabe starlet nicknamed Popping Candy (Dada Chan). During a fellatio involving some popping candies, Popping Candy has unexpectedly given To a great idea about how to make Tyrannosaurus' dream comes true. By using CGI, he will combine Siu Yam-Yam's face and Popping Candy's busty body. His idea nevertheless prompted Siu Yam-Yam herself to agree for playing the role all over again. But of course, nothing comes smooth during the filmmaking process as To also juggles with his own personal problem involving his ex-wife (Crystal Tin) and his little daughter Jacqueline (Jacqueline Chan).


REVIEW: Blessed with a Category III rating, writer-director Pang Ho-Cheung has certainly gone rampant with lots of colourful, yet creative Cantonese profanities. Likewise, his brand of knowing humour hits the jackpot that lampoons from almost everything he can think of -- filmmaking, sexual harassment, Hong Kong educational system, 3D SEX AND ZEN parody involving Hiro Hayama and even Al-Qaeda reference. The result is uproariously funny.

Special kudos also goes to all the gamely playful actors involved here. Chapman To's comical performance is pitch-perfect, while Dada Chan is surprisingly likeable enough as the endearing Popping Candy. The rest of the supporting actors perform their respective roles pretty good. Even the cameo appearances (Lam Suet, Miriam Yeung) are just as memorable. But the true standout is none others than Ronald Cheng, who excels in a tour de force performance as the crude and primitive triad head Tyrannosaurus. Each time he appears in a scene, he's a laughing riot to watch for. 

No doubt VULGARIA earns its place as one of the funniest Hong Kong comedies ever seen in a long while, but the movie is still without its glaring flaws. Pang Ho-Cheung's energetic storyline is sometimes incoherent and also lacks focus. It's also quite a shame that he doesn't make use of Category III rating to showcase sex and nudity (especially those involving Dada Chan) which might disappoint genre fans.

And by the way, stick around after the credit rolls. Midway, there's more scenes afterwards and particularly the crucial one involved whether or not To is having sex with a mule.

Blessed with a game ensemble cast all around, Pang Ho-Cheung's witty satire on the Category III genre is one of the funniest Hong Kong comedies ever made in a long while.

No comments: