The one and only Wong Jing returns with “Men Suddenly in Love”, a wacky comedy in his own inimitable lowbrow style. Featuring him as writer, director, producer and even star, the film surely confirms him as an uncouth auteur, with even his most vehement detractors surely now having to admit that his brand of vulgarity may be exactly what the increasingly sanitised Hong Kong comedy genre needs at this point in time. The film boasts a fine cast, with the portly one being joined by Eric Tsang, Chapman To, Jim Chim, and singer Det Dik as his lewd pals, with a bevy of eye catching and scantily clad females including Chrissie Chau, Carol Yeung, Jessica Xu, Caroline Zhu, and Betrys Kong adding a considerable shot of glamour.
The plot is a real throwback to the carefree days of Hong Kong screwball sleaze, with a group of five old school friends reuniting to organise a party for the 80th birthday of their teacher (much loved comedy veteran Richard Ng), the man who taught them everything they know about women (which admittedly doesn’t seem to be much). Sadly, the randy old fellow passes away during the festivities after his pupils somehow attract the attentions of some unfeasibly attractive young models. To honour their master, the rogues decide to try and bed the beauties, despite the fact that their understandably suspicious wives (played by Maggie Cheung Ho Yee, Yeung Sze Man, Monica Chan, Mak Ling Ling, and Jacqueline Chong) are keeping a close eye on their every incompetent move.
Whether or not to recommend “Men Suddenly in Love” really just boils down to the simple questions as to whether or not the viewer enjoys the works of Wong Jing, endless breast jokes and leering, lingering camera shots of bikini clad actresses. If the answer to any of the above is yes, then the film is an absolute must-see, and a real breath of fresh air in comparison to the vast majority of painfully earnest and politically correct, Mainland-friendly Hong Kong comedies. The film is pure and simple male wish fulfilment, with the lecherous buffoons all having good looking wives and somehow managing to prove sexually irresistible to young lovelies, and is lascivious and cheerfully immoral throughout, its basic conceit being that extra marital affairs are fine, so long as the man doesn’t get caught – and indeed that if he does get caught, his lies about his dalliances only serve to prove that he loves his wife. At same time, in its own way the film is kind of charming and is never particularly offensive, with no real nudity or anything more than lingerie skin and heaving cleavages (some of which do threaten to put out the viewer’s eyes).
Although the gags are almost uniformly of the lowest common denominator imaginable, the film is generally very amusing, with a few genuinely side splitting moments. Needless to say, the film is scattershot in the usual Wong Jing, with the senseless plot being absolute gibberish and serving only as a vague backdrop for the zany goings on. Boob jokes aside, the film’s funniest moments are its many parodies, making sport of a vast number of recent hits such as “Lust, Caution”, “Twilight”, and of course, “Ip Man”, at the same time squeezing in some broad laughs at the expense of the recent 3D romp “Sex & Zen: Extreme Ecstasy”. Added to these are a variety of pop culture references, most of which are likely to mean more to local viewers, including some rather mean swipes at Angelababy through a dim-witted actress character unsubtly called Angelamamma.
Although the film certainly does aim exclusively for easy targets, its approach works very well, mainly since the cast all appear to have been very up for making fools of themselves. The male cast members certainly seem to have had a great time – perhaps unsurprisingly, since they all spend most of the running time with half clad gorgeous females draped over them. Chapman To in particular is on fine, undignified form, as is Richard Ng, who it’s great to see still showing the same crazy charisma that made him such a genre favourite in the 80s.
All of this combines to make “Men Suddenly in Love” one of the funniest and most refreshingly old school comedies to have come from Hong Kong in the last couple of years. Although unlikely to win over Wong Jing haters, for viewers who enjoy vulgar gags, skewed morals and the sight of Chrissie Chau and friends wearing very little, it’s an hour and a half of unadulterated naughty fun.
Jing Wong (director) / Jing Wong (screenplay)
CAST: Maggie Cheung Ho Yee