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Some Like It Hot

Some Like It Hot

Wylie Chiu looks out for love in Some Like It Hot.

AKA:

Love and Hit

 
Chinese:

愛到發燒

 
Year: 2008  
Director: Pierre Lam
Producer: Ng Kin-Hung
Writer: Pierre Lam
Cast: Wylie Chiu, Brian Li Pak-Woon, Cheung Ka-Lun, Yip Wan-Keung, James Ho Seung-Him, Hidy Yu Hui-Tung
The Skinny: A playful tone and familiar emotions partially redeem Some Like It Hot, but the clunky dialogue and poor direction hurt matters. Less pretentious than the usual Hong Kong indies. However, that doesn't mean much because Hong Kong indies are usually really, really pretentious.
 
Review
by Kozo:
Film critic Pierre Lam takes his act behind the camera with the indie flick Some Like It Hot. But despite the loaded title, the film leaves one rather cold. Decently shot on HD video, Some Like It Hot is a romantic comedy-drama about Hong Kong youth and their self-absorbed romantic ways - a subject that's had remarkable play over the past decade, leading up to the current popularity of films directed by Patrick Kong, e.g. Love is Not All Around. Kong's films are both sappy and cynical, betraying current Hong Kong youth as outwardly optimistic, but inwardly cynical lovers who favor self-preservation and manipulation over actual love for another. Lam thankfully lightens up a bit on those themes, and allows his characters to actually be decent, giving lovers who realize who they're meant for. Too bad the movie itself isn't that good.

Brian Li of new Hong Kong boy band Square stars as Brian, a regular Hong Kong dude who's involved in a criss-crossing web of love that's in danger of becoming a confusing tangle. Brian is exceptionally smitten with the sexy-cute Wylie (new idol Wylie Chiu), but she loves hairdresser Ben (Cheung Ka-Lun), and naively thinks that Ben only has the hots for her. Maybe he does, but differing expectations leaves each member of this triangle stranded with his or her own self-absorbed concept of love. Ultimately, each person thinks that the other must love someone else, and lets it be known with sparkling metaphorical dialogue like, "I am just one of the scissors in her life." Um...okay.

Meanwhile, Ben's gay colleague Kim (Yip Wan-Keung) is crushing on Brian, as the two have recently become homoerotic ping pong pals. However, Kim is due for massive disappointment because Brian is heterosexual, not to mention rather dense for not realizing that Kim was gay in the first place. Meanwhile, Wylie recovers from her disappointment with Ben by switching her feelings to the nice-seeming James (James Ho, also of boy band Square) after he drunkenly tells her a story about his beloved sofa chair. James thinks his girlfriend (Hidy Yu) may be sleeping around with her yoga partner, though she claims that the guy is really gay. All this plus crass homosexual imagery, a big red exercise ball, many shots of Wylie Chiu's bare arms and legs, lots of undue metaphor, and the most unconvincing used condom story ever.

Despite the above description, Some Like It Hot is less irreverent than one would like. A youth sex comedy would be a welcome thing in Hong Kong, as people everywhere are horny and it'd be nice if Hong Kong Cinema acknowledged that too. However, Some Like It Hot seems more concerned with loaded musings of love than any sort of realism, and offers tons of metaphor, both verbal and visual, for its characters' paralyzing romantic issues. The characters are far too expressive about their personal issues, navel-gazing abundantly while seemingly never acting upon their realizations. After a while, the characters' conversations no longer feel insightful and start to become droning and interminable, instead.

Pierre Lam's direction is somewhat to blame here, as his staging is leaden, with scenes sometimes occurring in a snore-inducing shot-reverse shot fashion. Conversations between characters lack spontaneity, and seem wooden or obviously rehearsed. The production's spartan look is distracting too. Locations are remarkably empty, with the bookshelves in one character's apartment appearing totally empty. Maybe there's a metaphor here (empty shelves = a lack of soul, or something pseudo-deep), but there are other possible explanations, like no money.

Granted, Some Like It Hot is a low-budget indie, so the filmmakers should be given some leeway. The film does have interesting ideas and situations, and the themes themselves are familiar and very workable. The actors are all new faces, so they can be excused for their overdone acting and juvenile behavior - though the latter is sometimes too much to bear. It's true that many Hong Kong young adults behave in a childish and cutesy manner, but Some Like It Hot magnifies those traits to a grating and nearly insufferable extreme. Factor in the awkward direction, distracting synth score and self-conscious metaphorical dialogue, and the whole film ultimately feels unconvincing and fake. However, despite the flaws, the film is playful and well-meaning - and besides, giving it an unforgiving critical beatdown feels oddly harsh. Some Like It Hot doesn't qualify as an actual good film, but it's easier to like and certainly less harmful than Hong Kong's more pretentious indies. (Kozo, Reviewed at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, 2008)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Panorama Entertainment
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
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