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To (Chapman To Man-chak), a long-time film producer, has yet to produce anything resembling a hit. Beset by financial troubles, he has become desperate for money - so much so that he is unable to pay the alimony to his ex-wife (Kristal Tin). Despite his former spouse's bitterness, their daughter still clings onto her faith in him - and wishes to see him on TV once his new movie premieres. To is soon introduced to a potential Mainland Chinese investor, Tyrannosaurus (Ronald Cheng), by his buddy Lui Wing-shing (Simon Loui Yu-yeung). But Tyrannosaurus is not only the head of a Guangxi triad gang, he turns out to have very particular tastes in food and sex. Regardless, To is determined to woo this investor, even if it means giving into his every demands. Tyrannosaurus eventually tells them to cast his childhood idol Yum Yum Shaw (Susan Shaw) in a remake of a classic pornographic film. He even gives the film the title Confessions of Two Concubines. After receiving funding from ... Written by
A top-notch Hong Kong comedy at its best, Pang Ho-Cheung's VULGARIA is a hilarious satire that pokes fun on 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 about 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 favorite 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 favorite 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 finds way to fulfill 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 gives To a great idea about how to make Tyrannosaurus' dream comes true. By using CGI, he will combines 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).
Blessed with a Category III rating, writer-director Pang Ho-Cheung has certainly goes rampant with lots of colorful, yet creative Cantonese profanities. Likewise, his brand of knowing humor 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 likable 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 lack of 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.
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