Category IIB was the final rating for this high-touted
Category III drama from those guys at the Brilliant
Idea Group. Basically a “life of a club girl/prostitute”
movie, it takes great pains to demonstrate the daily
grind (no pun intended) of these fixtures of HK local
culture. To do so, writer-director Matthew Chow attempts
a UFO-type exploration of its subject, and the result
is well-made and well-intentioned. However, it ultimately
isn’t very good.
The lead character is Ah
B (Grace Lam), a money-grubbing “PR Girl” who can’t
decide if she wants love, money, friendship, or power.
She ultimately swings between all of them, leading
to lots of missteps, misdirections and failed connections.
On the other end is Julia (Liz Kong), the Mamasan
to Ah B. She’s a career PR Girl who wants to find
a husband, but sells herself short because she’s a
PR Girl. Fellow club girls Ah Kwan (Angela Tong) and
Matilda (Sherming Yiu) provide their own issues, from
loan sharks to sexual dysfunction.
As you would expect, it isn’t
plot that drives the film but character and situation.
The situations work; we get sordid customers and kinky
activities. Lai Yiu-Cheung has a delirious cameo as
a wacked out john with a thing for Hello Kitty. Newcomer
Grace Lam provides all the visual aids, as she’s the
only actress to appear nude. The bigger names
(if you consider Liz Kong a big name) keep their clothes
on, but somehow I doubt gratuitous nudity would have
helped the character angle of the film. That’s where
the film fails: character. Ah B is a prime example.
She is a staggeringly unsympathetic character who
denies her humanity for dough. Ah B is reprehensibleand
we need to feel for her. That Grace Lam can’t provide
that is a huge detriment to the film.
On the other end, Angela
Tong and Sherming Yiu provide good support, but they
have too little to do. I could go on, but I’d just
be hammering home my lassitude towards the film. It’s
mildly interesting, but a failure. (Kozo 1998)