La Brassiere

Reviewed by: Em

June 15, 2004

Rating: five

Director: Leung Pak Kin / Chan Hing Ka

Cast: Sean Lau, Louis Koo, Carina Lau, Gigi Leung, Lee San San

Story Overview

Samantha (Carina Lau), who is the director for the Hong Kong office of a large Japanese conglomerate, is summoned to headquarters by her superior and given a project in which she must make a breakthrough in the brassiere industry by creating perfection in a product dubbed "The Ultimate Bra". "Easy!" she thinks, but there is a catch -- the bra must be designed by a man and presented in three months.

Despite much objection, Samantha is sent away to complete her task and out of a selection of totally unlikely candidates, she settles on serial playboy Wayne (Louis Koo) and men's underwear specialist Johnny (Sean Lau) as her two new senior designers for this product. Sent to work together with head of design Lena (Gigi Leung) in an all-female office, these two chauvinistic, egotistical men think they are in heaven as they turn up for work and find women falling at their feet and beautiful models waiting for their instructions.

However, Wayne and Johnny soon realise that there is much more to bra design than meets the eye and they soon find themselves facing failure as each design they produce is rejected and although they try all sorts of different methods (even trying out breasts and bras for themselves) they still cannot grasp what it is that makes a bra superior. It is only when they fall in love -- Johnny with Samantha and Wayne with Lena -- that they get in touch with their feminine sides and eventually find out what it is that gives women that feeling they are looking for.

With time running out and their love lives in a muddle, Johnny and Wayne finally learn to respect women and create the "Ultimate Bra", but the final test remains -- how will it fare at Tokyo headquarters?

My Thoughts

What attracted my attention to this movie were the names of the lead actors and my curiosity as to how they would portray their roles in a movie about women and bras -- Louis and Sean are both well known for their masculine roles as triads or police officers, but to think of them in what is at first glance a truly 'girly' film was a real stretch for my imagination. My intrigue was soon turned into admiration as they both pulled off the roles superbly and left me in stitches of laughter.

The storyline and setting are straightforward enough and this is not a movie with an epic twisting plot. However, the addition of the subplots such as Louis and Sean's 'research' in which Carina makes them go and seek out every available bra in the market or when Gigi challenges them to wear some fake breasts and water balloons for half a day to simulate the problems women encounter with large breasts, creates a medium for the format to turn into a collection of sketches and allow the comedic talents of Louis and Sean to break through. A perfect balance of dumb humour and slight wit moulds these scenes into a success when they could so easily have fallen into a detestable heap.

The female roles in the film were from the start a secondary measure and there would have been nothing that Carina or Gigi could have done to reverse this. Yet still, they did not give any less dedication to their characters and etched the roles of Samantha and Lena into something unique and memorable. Carina suited her high-powered straight-talking office lady image to a tee and Gigi worked well as an arrogant beauty yearning for innocent love.

Throughout the film, the viewing enjoyment was positively enhanced by some stunning sets and the eye-catching costumes worn by all the cast. Credit must be given to the designers who, in using bright colours and natural light, created an environment which absorbed the viewer into the mood of the show and cheery atmosphere. Whoever decided to dress Louis Koo in dayglo green and blue should be given an Oscar! He looked absolutely delicious and you couldn't help noticing his bubbly personality shining through.

Cameo appearances by Patrick Tam and Stephen Fung (amongst others) helped to keep the pace of the film and in line with the groundbreaking manner of the show fulfilled some viewers' secret desire to see Patrick as a string-vest-wearing underwear vendor in the women's market and Stephen in a school uniform dancing through the flowerbeds...

Everything about this movie suggests idiocy, comedy and slapstick -- and yet it is thrown together in a way which makes it hilarious to watch and which you don't mind seeing again and again. This film will never win the Cannes Film Festival, but it certainly deserved the popularity it has gained and for me at least was very enjoyable in a no-brainer frame of mind.


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