Director: Kan Jia Wei
Cast: Ekin Cheng, Chrissie Chau, Dominic Ho, Connie Man, Lam Chi-Chung, Joyce Cheng
Runtime: 1 hr 35 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Sexual References)
Released By: Shaw
Opening Day: 17 March 2016
Synopsis: Evan, Johnny, and Irwin are best friends since childhood. One day, all three of them are dumped by their girlfriends. While drunk, Evan comes across a website called “Get Your Dream Girl”. All he needs to do is enter the criteria of his dream girl and upon payment, he will get what he wants. On an impulse, Evan throws in his life savings. He receives a parcel containing parts of a human model, which he assembles into a woman figure. The next day, he finds the mannequin is alive…
Even before From Vegas To Macau 3 has ended its theatrical run, HK’s most prolific director Wong Jing has embarked on his Mission Milano with Andy Lau and Huang Xiaoming. Before you can actually utter “Wow”, he has already produced a movie called iGirl with ex-assistant director turned director Kam Jia Wei at the helm.
Set in the outlying island of Cheung Chau, this sci-fi romantic comedy stars Ekin Cheng (Breakup 100), Dominic Ho (The Gigolo) and Lam Tze Chung (Kung Fu Hustle) as three buddies who decide to order cyborg girlfriends for companionship after their gold-digging partners unceremoniously dump them. As this is a Wong Jing produced effort, expect the cyborgs to appear in the form of sexy stars Chrissie Chau (also Breakup 100) and Connie Man (Flirting in the Air) not forgetting the daughter of late comedian Lydia Shum, Joyce Cheng (Huat Ah! Huat Ah!).
To broadly summarize it, there’s nothing sci-fi about the entire affair unless you take into account the unnecessary overload of dodgy CGI in the last half and some decent production design work. Wong Jing and Kam apparently tried to instill some messages about technology and relationship into it but as everyone knows Wong, he is no preacher, he is one of the foremost entertainers in the HK movie industry. Thus he not only once again categorized women as sex objects but trampling on other A.I. related titles such as Ex Machina, Her and you read that right, Men In Black.
Just in case you are allergic to boobs and skin, iGirl comparing to other Wong Jing flicks is very much a tame affair. For precaution, you might want to close your eyes when Chau displays her flawless back. In fact, it’s a decently sweet rom-com from start to a quarter before it ends. We shall elaborate on that later on. And credit must go to Kam for at least making much effort not to reduce it to a raunchy nonsensical story about sex-starved naked female cyborgs running amok in 3D.
The first act tells the endearing relationships between the buddies and their cyborg counterparts and how they teach the robotress how to behave liked a proper human being. At the same time, the buddies’ avenging exes are out for revenge though they are only given fleeting screentime. The typecast Chrissie Chau plays the innocent 001, opposite Ekin Cheng’s Evan, they look liked a pair of believable “lovers” except one of them is actually a cyborg. Cheng who has lost much of his clout as a star since his young and dangerous heydays still has the charisma to channel that leading man charm and Chau surprisingly showcases a more than serviceable performance.
That can’t be said of Evan’s two other buddies, Johnny (Ho) and Irwin (Lam) who simply can’t wait to bed their cyborg mates, the flirtatious, sultry 002 (Man) and the overweight 003 (Cheng). This is after all a Wong Jing flick. Who can blame him for injecting sexual references when you have Gigolos’ alumnis, Dominic Ho and Connie Man among the cast. The remaining stars Joyce Cheng and Lam Chi Chung expectedly by default becomes the movie’s comic relief because of their bubbly personas.
Because the movie never touches on the irobots’ mysterious creator “Mr. Intelligence” and his motives, iGirl ultimately is a silly outing and nothing of all the clever artificial intelligence that the teaser make it out to be. As a rule of thumb to end every movie on a high note, the finale even throws in a redundant hokey fight between the exes and cyborgs so you can boast to your fellow friends after the show, “You know what, I just caught the latest silly but entertaining Wong Jing movie”.
(Post CNY Wong Jing flick that is best view on a weekday)
Review by Linus Tee