Hong Kong director Pang Ho-Cheung has two films in this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival: Love in the Buff, an entertaining romantic comedy, and Vulgaria, starring Chapman To, and Dada Chan, a masterpiece in outrageous humor that had a room full of international film journalists practically falling out of their seats!
Vulgaria makes no pretensions to care about Hong Kong’s movie rating system, in fact, it revels in its category III status. From beginning till end, it takes delightful pleasure in stepping over the line, saying what often can’t be said in local films.
Loaded with foul language and hilarious situational comedy, at times it’s in the style of “Harold and Kumar Go To Whitecastle,” or a live-action South Park episode.
Yet there’s something about the film that distinguishes itself from earlier eras of Hong Kong comedy. Vulgaria seems more contemporary, with smoother, modern story telling. The film isn’t a series of uneven gags loosely strung together, but a finely directed and edited work.
The movie boasts solid performances all around by Chapman To, Dada Chan, Ronald Cheng, Jim Chim, Susan Shaw, Hiro Hayama, Crystal Tin, Fiona Sit, Matt Chow, Vincent Kok, and Miriam Yeung (who was also the star of Love In The Buff, this year’s HKIFF opening film.)
Though made for local audiences, Pang Ho-Cheung’s Vulgaria clearly has appeal for foreign viewers into over-the-top comedy.