Vulgaria, with Chapman To (left) and Simon Lui, is hard to swallow.
VULGARIA (Pang Ho-Cheung). 92 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (September 28). See listings. Rating: NN
Hong Kong box-office smash sex comedy Vulgaria begins with a tongue-in-cheek warning about its vulgar content. The audience is even given a chance to leave. Alas, critics don't get to use that escape clause.
The film really should begin with a statement about how comedy is culturally specific. Apart from a few chuckles, this farce won't be very farcical to Western viewers.
The likeable Chapman To plays To Wai Cheung, a schlock film producer whose life is in a shambles. His ex-wife, a lawyer, wants to keep him from his young daughter. And he's relying on money from Guangxi gangster Tyrannosaurus (Ronald Cheng) to finance his next picture, but the man has a few provisos involving eating the genitals of animals and fucking mules. The mule-fucking becomes a recurring gag.
The movie itself - Tyrannosaurus's idea - is to update the classic soft-core erotic film Confessions Of A Concubine, featuring its now aged star, Shaw Yin Yin (who actually did star in that movie). Producer To decides to superimpose Shaw's face on the body of a younger woman named Popping Candy (Dada Chan). How the starlet got her name provides one of the film's few comic moments; another comes during a gambling scene involving an out-of-work director.
The remainder of this self-indulgent, episodic and misogynistic pic will make you wish you'd taken the warning and exited earlier.