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S for Sex, S for Secret


Pakho Chow and Annie Liu in S for Sex, S for Secret.

Chinese: 小姐誘心  
Year: 2014  
Director: Jil Wong Pak-Kei
Producer: Patrick Kong, Shirley Yung
Writer: Patrick Kong

Annie Liu, Pakho Chau Pak-Ho, Kabby Hui, Jacqueline Chong Si-Man, Philip Keung Ho-Man, Jeana Ho Pui-Yu, Edward Ma Chi-Wai, Bryant Mak Ji-Lok, Winkie Lai, Ming Jai, Bob Lam, Elva Ni, Mak Ling-Ling, Dada Lo Chung-Chi

The Skinny: More of the same crappy relationship angst from Patrick Kong, except it’s directed by someone else – which unsurprisingly makes it better than the usual Kong joint! S for Sex, S for Secret should easily serve Kong’s devoted fans (they exist) while entertaining audiences with a taste for trashy Hong Kong Cinema. Not quality but if you expect it to be you’re really behind the times.
by Kozo:

Crappy date movie auteur Patrick Kong returns with awesome news: He didn’t direct his latest film! S for Sex, S for Secret is billed as a Patrick Kong film, but he only produces and scripts this cynical relationship movie about people who cheat on their spouses – and that’s totally fine because their spouses are evil and were probably cheating first, haha! But I digress. S for Sex is directed by Jil Wong Pak-Kei, a former member of the filmmaking collective called Seven’s, who made the mediocre youth films See You in YouTube and Trick or Cheat. Those works aside, S for Sex, S for Secret is better than Kong’s last three films, and a lot of that is due to the direction. The actors are given more room to work, their dialogue is not as screechy, the set-ups aren’t as lazy and the film simply looks better than Kong’s usual efforts. That said, this is far from a good movie. What I’m doing is simply using relative measurement to justify my claim that S for Sex, S for Secret doesn’t entirely suck. Adjusting your expectations can work miracles.

The film centers on two couples, starting with Hung (Pakho Chau) and Bobo (Annie Liu), newlyweds who are having sex problems. He’s got performance issues because he’s stressed out, plus she’s unadventurous in bed and only wants sex to have a baby. Meanwhile, she’s telling her family and friends about his problems – another surefire way to stop his tentpole from telescoping properly. However, Hung’s got secrets: He lost his job and is now working at a sex toy store, and in his frustration has started casually shagging a comely young girl (Kabby Hui) who engages in foreplay to power-up his package. Meanwhile, talent manager Sister Sze (Jacqueline Chong) is pissed off with Keung (Keung Ho-Man), her sex-addicted husband who’s straying far from the ranch. Simultaneously, one of Sze’s starlets, Tracy (Jeana Ho), resents Sze and instantly zeroes in on Keung for some retribution. Sze’s also got a lingering attraction to hunky Owen (Bryant Mak), a layabout who delivers food to her office while making come hither gazes. Something’s gotta give but it won’t be Patrick Kong with a refund. He still owes you for all his other movies.

As expected, everyone in S for Sex is pretty awful. All the characters are cheaters or liars, and if they don’t cheat or lie they’re reactionary near-stalkers like Ray (Eric Ma), a co-worker of Bobo’s who becomes yet another potential cheating partner on the already-confusing relationship chart. Having this many crappy characters is a trademark of cynical Patrick Kong romances, but at least the film has fun with its trashiness – like one over-the-top scene where Sze and Tracy attend a midnight business meeting where everyone is smoking while staring daggers at one another. The cattiness and doucheyness can be amusing, and the actors sell it well. This is a career-best performance from Jacqueline Chong (not exactly a high bar, but we’ll take what we can get) as the director actually gives her moments to do more than recite “me, me, me” dialogue. Meanwhile, Jeana Ho makes an entertainingly evil vamp and Annie Liu is solidly entertaining as a nagging goody-two-shoes wife. Pakho Chow is a good sport as the weak (in more ways than one) husband, and Keung Ho-Man does his usual “scummy bastard” act spectacularly.

Also of note are relative newcomers Kabby Hui and Bryant Mak. Neither is exceptional, but Hui manages decent affect as a casual sex temptress, while Mak is remarkably comfortable as an affable boy toy. Yep, I’m praising actors for not being annoying in a Patrick Kong production, which is preferable to taking the film to task for its tired plot twists, crappy music cues and aggravating orgy of flashbacks to stuff that happened five minutes ago – one of Kong’s very familiar and overused tricks. This stuff was bad the last twenty-three times Kong tried it, so let’s just ignore all the bad stuff and focus on the good stuff, like the barbed dialogue, the references to current Hong Kong culture and even a seven years-late reference to Gillian Chung’s career. Ultimately, there’s not much new here, which means Patrick Kong’s devotees (They exist, really!) will be fine. Those wary of Kong are right to assume the worst with S for Sex, S for Secret, but when the result is actually not Kong’s worst – hey, it’s like we won a prize or something! We’ll undoubtedly play this game with Patrick Kong again soon. (Kozo, 1/2015)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
CN Entertainment Ltd.
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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