Raymond (Raymond Wong) is a introverted office clerk with the dreaded Seven Year Itch. Endlessly badgered by his live-in "wife", Sylvia (Sylvia Chang), who is obsessed with Chinese opera, by his busy-body mother-in-law, and by his reckless brother-in-law John (Eric Tsang), Raymond spends much of his day ogling girls in the street and in the office and listening to his colleagues' stories of their sexual conquests. When his boss offers him a promotion and business trip to Singapore, Raymond realises he can finally get his marriage to Sylvia registered, whilst also getting a chance to scratch that itch of his once and for all. Alone on the flight to Singapore, Raymond meets Siu Hung (Nina Li), a petty diamond thief, who has singled him out for flirtation that is far from harmless, and soon their fates are inextricably intertwined...
Two of Robert McKee's story "commandments" are: 'Thou shalt not make life easy for the protagonist' and 'Thou shalt seek the end of the line, taking characters to the farthest reaches and depth of conflict imaginable within the story's own realm of probability'. And this film really takes those maxims to heart! What starts out as a mild and charming-because-of-its-age sex comedy turns into a grand farce as Raymond faces the multiplicating consequences of his flirtation with Siu Hung in Singapore. The amount of coincidences, bad luck, wrong-place- wrong-time, and misunderstandings that conspire against Raymond are terrific, and yet at the end we genuinely care for his character and want him not only to do the right thing, but also to have the right thing come to him.
There are plenty of visual gags, some of which are predictable (naked man perched outside a hotel window anyone?) and some of which are laugh- out-loud funny, and the actors do their comedy with aplomb, especially Eric Tsang in a small role. Maggie Cheung also makes a quick appearance. It's easy to see how Johnnie To became as well respected as he has done with early work like this. Definitely worth a watch.
Also, watch the end credits for an amusing "warning" about the Seven Year Itch!
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