Girls Unbutton

Girls Unbutton

aka 不扣鈕的女孩 aka Bu kou niu de nu hai

Written by Lam Chiu-Wing
Directed by Taylor Wong Tai-Loi

Girls Unbutton is a story about a woman’s search for love. Along the way she gets naked a lot, as do her friends, so it’s all good! A lot of people now compare it to Sex and the City, but Girls Unbutton came out years before that series. It’s spiritual predecessors are those European erotic journey films where they are narrated by the young lady who has a string of lovers until she finds the one that is best. There was a whole host of these in the 70s, though the genre seemed to peter out in the 80s. Many also featured internal dialogue in the form of diaries (as some were based on actual books!), and the diary aspect is carried over for Girls Unbutton. But not entirely, Jenny has two friends with ideas of their own about love and men, thus giving us external dialogue and conflict and nudity.

Despite the fact it appears to be nothing more than sleazy Category III that hastily straightened up the room before mom barged in, Girls Unbutton actually has seeds of an idea of a better film. It almost does a good job looking into the ins and out of relationships, of a woman’s search for love. But Jenny is thrust into various ridiculous scenarios that quickly take the winds out of the sails for a serious and good movie. Girls Unbutton is its own worst enemy. But also its greatest strength. Just the very fact the producers tried to do something makes it a cut above a lot of the slop. And Girls Unbutton is entertaining.

This is a Loletta Lee vehicle, so the plot revolves around her as our heroine Jenny. Jenny has a busy love life, but each relationship is not right for her. Will she ever find true love? Is there a Mr. Right? Will she and her friends be wearing any clothes in the next scene? We shall find out! This was the last film directed by Taylor Wong Tai-Loi, the talented director and fan of old school Cantonese flicks, which he showed his love with in Buddha’s Palm (1982) and Kung Fu Vs. Acrobatic (1990).

Jenny (Loletta Lee Lai-Chun) – Jenny is a modern girl searching for love in a land of duds and duddier duds. What’s a girl to do when everyone sucks or dies quickly?? Lounge around naked and write in your diary. Heck yeah! Loletta Lee was also in Summer Lover
Kate (Mikie Ng Miu-Yee) – Jenny’s friend who wants her to be a strong woman in love, which basically means being a horrible person. Mikie Ng Miu-Yee was awesomely sexual and dangerous in the vastly underrated Rock on Fire, but soon vanished to obscurity. She is sometimes credited as Wu Mia Oyi.
Jenny’s Friend Number Two (Hung Yuk-Laan) – Friend Number Two is such a good friend, she doesn’t even have a name. You don’t need one in the world of friends! Friend Number Two is just as friendly as Friend Number One, Kate. And just as naked!
Lung Mao (Elvis Tsui Kam-Kong) – Triad Boss who has a relationship with Jenny. Dies in battle.
Pong Kwong-Yim (David Siu Chung-Hang) – Politician who becomes the next failed relationship in Jenny’s life, though he doesn’t want to leave her life.
Ho (Leung Si-Ho) – The guy who is right for Jenny, for reasons not really stated, but he just is. You can tell by looking at him!
Ho’s Sister (Fan Oi-Git) – She never gets a name, and has a passion for losing her clothes accidentally. And she parades around he brother in a string bikini that covers less than dental floss!

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Summer Lover (Review)

Summer Lover

aka Xia ri qing ren

Alfred Cheung Kin-Ting as Ting
Veronica Yip Yuk-Hing as Siu-Yuk
Vivian Chow Wai-Man as Liza
Loletta Lee Lai-chun as Janet
Max Mok Siu-Chung as Chung
Russell Wong as Zeniger
Directed by Clifton Ko Chi-Sum

A lovable loser meets the girl of his dreams, only she’s a spirit sent by magical VCD to obey his commands. This timeless tale hit the modern update, though it’s been played out in many media over the years. From genies in bottles to magic internet women, the story has been told many times before, and will be told many times after. This particular telling, though, is the one we are interested in. Summer Lover is not just an NC-17 late-night sex movie. In fact, there is little sex, though it’s in there. Most of the film is lighthearted comedy, in the vein of the early 1980’s teenager movies with the adult joke, aka the legion of bad Porky’s clones that dotted the 1980’s like beer cans on the side of the highway Sunday morning. Summer Lover‘s biggest difference is the particular method of the ladies. The women come out via magical VCD, a technology that’s getting phased out for DVDs. VCDs are huge in China and Asia, while VHS reigned supreme here in America. The women call themselves Laser Ladies, where in the US they’d be VHS Vixens, and now would be DVD Dolls. See, timeless!

This film is based on the Japanese Manga Video Girl Ai, which I have never read and have no intention of reading ever. I guess magazines where women come to life from VCDs is popular or something, but if Marvel ever put out something like that, it would probably almost sell as well as the New Universe titles. Anyone remember that? I was like 7, but I knew a bad decision when I saw one.

Our hopeless hero is Lifeguard Ting (Alfred Cheung), who is the total stereotype dateless guy. He’s got the bad hair, the big glasses, the bad job, and is a total klutz. Ting yearns for his love Liza (Vivian Chow), who he’s friends with but cannot get. Whenever Ting sees Liza, he bleeds, calling it the “Blood of Heroes.” Today is Ting’s birthday, but Liza cannot attend his party tonight. Ting’s friend is named Zeniger (Russell Wong), who is also Liza’s on again/off again man. Zeniger is a pretty boy, overshadowing his odd name. Ting has another friend named Chung, who is the movie’s horndog character. Ting’s party for the evening turns out to be just a tape for lonely guys that pretends to have a party going on. Ting’s friend Chung calls him up and wants to go looking for some “instant noodles” (aka prostitutes), but they end up going to a VCD store (aka a Laser Shop.) A magic VCD store (aka a Magic Laser Shop.) Run by a white guy. A magic white guy. You know he’s magical because he’s effeminate and is wearing a white long-haired wig. Luckily, he’s Cantonese fluent and can direct the two boys around, as he says the shop is specially made for brokenhearted people. Ting’s first impulse is to buy a Donald Duck VCD (which would have made a very odd sex movie….) but the manager directs the two lonely guys to the adult section. He gives them some special VCDs, each one featuring a different lady. Different magic ladies.

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