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The Shopaholics (2006)

Jui oi nui yun kau muk kong (original title)
A shopaholic is stuck in a love triangle between two men--one, a psychologist trying to help her and the other, a male counterpart.

Director:

Ka-Fai Wai (as Wai Ka Fai)

Writers:

Ka-Fai Wai (as Wai Ka Fai), Kin-Yee Au (as Au Kin Yee)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cecilia Cheung ... Fonda Fond / Fong Fong-Fong
Ching Wan Lau ... Dr. Choosey Lee (as Lau Ching Wan)
Jordan Chan ... Richie Ho
Ella Koon ... Ding-Dong Dong
Paula Tsui ... Dr. Phoenix Luk
Dennis Law Dennis Law ... Property Developer
Chi-Ying Tsang Chi-Ying Tsang ... FC (as Tsang Chi Ying)
Tian-Lin Wang ... Fatty Lee (as Wong Tin Lam)
Kar-Ying Law ... West Ho (as Law Ka Ying)
Chun Chau Ha ... South Ho (as Ha Chun Chau)
Maggie Siu ... Birth Chow (as Maggie Shiu)
Amy Kwok Amy Kwok ... 1980 Security Guard
Stephanie Che ... Lighting Shop Owner
Sze-Ming Lu ... Choosey's Best Man (as Johnny Chen)
Yat Ning Chan ... Fonda's Bridesmaid (as Isabel Chan)
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Storyline

Compulsive disorders plague Hong Kong: Fong Fong Fong, a foundling who's now a nurse, is a shopaholic who seeks psychiatric help from Kan Yan (Choosey) Lee, who's frozen by an inability to choose. Into the mix come Kung Fu (Richie) Ho, a wealthy man who is stingy but also will buy anything someone else wants, and Ding Dong Ding, Lee's binge-eating bargain-shopping ex-girlfriend who reappears in hopes Lee will now choose her. Both men propose to both women who say yes to both. Family and friends are inept at helping to sort it out, and even if the four get the wedding vows straight, will anyone be cured? Does Hong Kong need more than a Prozac? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Hong Kong

Release Date:

20 January 2006 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

The Shopaholics See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,262,819
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The poster for the horror movie that Fong Fong and Choosey Lee watch has the logos for China Star Entertainment and One Hundred Years of Film Co. Ltd. Beside it is the poster for Election (2005) (Election). Johnnie To, director Ka-Fai Wai's frequent directing partner, directed that film, which was produced/presented by Dennis Law, and co-starred Tian-Lin Wang (aka Wong Tin Lam), both of whom make an appearance in this film. The studios' producer Charles Heung is the presenter for both films. See more »

Soundtracks

I Will Follow Him
Music by Franck Pourcel and Paul Mauriat
Lyrics by Arthur Altman and Norman Gimbel
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User Reviews

 
Shop for a Better Movie Now
20 April 2006 | by AdorableSee all my reviews

One cliché regarding the ardor of city life pertains, as everyone knows, to stress. The pressure of living in a conurbation can't be emphasized enough, especially in a town like HK where crossing the street on a busy day can be tantamount to swimming in jell-o. Such a dire predicament opens up endless opportunities for screenwriters and other cinematic cronies, to wit the constant march of situational comedies coming out of Hong Kong featuring hapless individuals crushed under the weight of metropolitan survival.

The Shopaholics is one of the latest such entries, but by no means a member of the greatest club. It suffers from an annoying nervous tick of a plot device whereby events unfold as per what the doctor ordered, and in general sustains itself just barely by falling back on surprisingly likable characters that most of us will find somehow endearing. Cecilia Cheung heads this ensemble in a role much more suited to her capabilities than being relegated to a Zhang Ziyi clone in The Promise. We must never forget the cheery youngster got her start in hit King of Comedy, and here she once more pursues a light hearted streak tinged with just the slighted pinch of tragedy.

As hideously-named Fong Fong Fong, Cecilia epitomizes demonic-compulsive shopping syndrome, a condition reportedly triggered when her unseen parents abandoned her post-birth at a luxury retail outlet somewhere between the LV and Burberry sections. Twenty some years later, Fong Fong lives to shop, residing in an apartment where nothing exists save for a bevy of designer products she never uses. As a result of her shopaholic condition, Fong Fong can't hold a steady job and must seek professional help. The film never addresses how exactly someone drowning in credit card debt as a consequence of uncontrollable shopping may be able to afford therapy, but that's probably besides the point in a project as intellectually forgiving as this one.

Dr. Choosy Lee (Lau Ching Man in yet another superfluous comedic turn) accepts the task, only to reveal himself as a fellow sufferer. Not shopping is his woe, but rather decidophobia: he can't make up his mind, no matter how trivial the issue. Together Lee and Fong Fong confront their personal devils, with the inevitable romantic thread popping in for a hello as the story progresses.

But the modern megalopolis demands sacrifices dearer than a mere pair of miserable denizens, so to complete the picture there's Jordan Chan (Initial D) as an eternally tormented consumer with a seriously devastating case of buyer's remorse. Irrespective of the amount, this dude will regret it, and painfully so. His own female complement is superb Ella Koon (Drink Drank Drunk) as secondary moniker-disaster Ding Dong Dong. Secondary to Cecilia and unfortunately so, for Ella, though consigned to the pretty-face role, manages to flex her thespian muscles quite nicely considering The Shopaholics's limited scope. Her problem is an acute and severe inferiority complex that has her ever-inadequate for whatever situation she finds herself in. Of course, the lass also likes to shop.

Well, shopping has always been a peculiar aspect of the Fragrant Harbor, and as most will attest, a practical pastime in a place dependent upon rampant commercial activity. Within this framework, The Shopaholics may be taken for social commentary, but as the latter often ends up looking in HK movies, here too it's hard making out the trees for all the receipts, or spotting the moral content amid thinly-disguised promos for in-vogue mall APM.

Sadly, the film includes one of the most irritating sequences seen lately on the big screen where characters rush fruitlessly under the guidance of uber-psychologist Dr. Phoenix Luk (singer Paula Tsui), acting as a type of mentor for the quartet of unhappy souls. Meant to convey build up towards catharsis, the fifteen-minute strong bit grates worse than brick cheese while one sits there wondering why they should care as protagonists go through ridiculous slapstick routines ten times too many. But not all is lost, as The Shopaholics does present four characters with real problems and authentic-sounding difficulties many a member of its target audience will readily relate to. In that, if in nothing else, it does win a modest victory.

Given better story development and less of an "homage" to traditional Cantonese comedy (it does happen to be a contemporary tale, mind you) The Shopaholics might have been actually enjoyable, but lest we irritate our luckily dormant regretful anxiety complex.

Rating: * * 1/2


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