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Beauty and the Breast
"I swear they're real!"

Michelle Reis ignores Francis Ng and his new breasts.
Year: 2002  
Director: Raymond Yip Wai-Man  
Writer: Not a Woman (But Hai Lui Yan)  
Cast: Francis Ng Chun-Yu, Michelle Reis, Daniel Wu, Halina Tam Siu-Wan, Amanda Strang, Lam Chi-Chung, Sophie Ngan Chin-Man, Angela Tong Ying-Ying, Wong Yat-Fei, Matt Chow Hoi-Kwong, Wong Tin-Lam
The Skinny: A potentially amusing script is submarined by poor direction. The actors perform well, but without any real guidance their performances seem inconsistent.
Review
by Kozo:
     The success of Needing You spawned workplace romantic comedies like La Brassiere. Now, the success of La Brassiere spawns another workplace romantic comedy...about breasts. 
     Francis Ng is Mario, a notorious player who sucks up to his scumbag boss (Matt Chow) at his job. His company produces an herbal oil for medicinal purposes, but the boss wants to deep-six the long-running product in favor of a breast enhancement cream. The boss brings aboard two buxom new executives (Sophie Ngan and Angela Tong), who sold him on this new product. The two are your usual evil bombshells and proceed to make the office hell for the various employees, among them Amanda Strang, Halina Tam, Shaolin Soccer vet Lam Chi-Chung. 
     Meanwhile, new employee Yuki (Michelle Reis) appears on the scene, and Mario immediately bets that he'll be able to bed her in a week's time. To do so, he pretends to have a brain tumor. Since Yuki is one of those innocent, pure-hearted girls (a stock character for the amazingly beautiful Reis), she falls for his act.
     However, the new breast cream turns out to be harmful, so Yuki and her co-workers stage vengeance on upper management, which includes both Mario and Harper (Daniel Wu, sporting a pretty wacky hairstyle). Luckily, Yuki's father (Wong Yat-Fei) is a brilliant Chinese doctor. He whips up a herb remedy that'll stimulate female hormones, and thus increase breast size. Yuki and co. turn the new formula on Mario and Harper. 
     What this leads to are sequences of Francis Ng and Daniel Wu sporting noticeable mammaries. At this point, you'd expect the laughs to kick in and they do, though it took a great while to get there. Director Raymond Yip has been an excellent director in recent years but his comedies tend to lack any sort of discernible rhythm. The blueprint for these pictures, Needing You, was exceptional thanks to its visual language as well as winning romantic plotline. La Brassiere was noticeably self-conscious, but at the same time it was vividly funny and creative. Beauty and the Breast is none of those things. It sags beneath its own ponderous exposition, which is credited to Not a Woman (an obvious consortium of screenwriters). Every single plot or character change is announced verbally like some sort of stage direction. Romantic comedies tend to work better when they show, not tell.
     The raunchy joke factor of the film helps it somewhat. There is a certain amusement to the whole "guys with breasts" gag, and Francis Ng and Daniel Wu try their best. Still, without a proper tone to the whole exercise, their performances seem wasted. Ng shifts between a cloying comic attitude and a more effective, subtle gravity that makes him seem inconsistent. Reis is attractive in her role, but it's nothing truly new. All of this could have been helped by director Yip. Had he given Beauty and the Breast a consistent, discernible tone from minute one, the film could have been an enjoyable, off-color comedy. As it is, it's an uneven, sporadically funny mess. A cast of this caliber deserves better, and so does the audience. (Kozo 2002)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mega Star/Media AsiaVideo
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
 

image courtesy of Mega Star Video Distribution (HK) Ltd.

   
   
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