Director: Pang Ho-cheung
Cast: Miriam Yeung, Gigi Leung, Dada Chan, Chan Yat Ning, Isabella Leung, Yanki Din, Jo Kuk, Tsui Ting Yau, Hanjin Tan, Brenda Lam, Lam Suet, Patrick Tse Yin
RunTime: 1 hr 28 mins
Rating: M18 (Some Mature Content)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 31 January 2019
Synopsis: The mobile chat group "Pat Poh [Nosy Bitches]"comprises six girls and two boys. They were once very close, but then Inspector May therein found that her bosom friend Isabelhad an affair with her boyfriend. Moreover, the internet celebrity, Rosalin, has written everyone else's love secrets into a book and published it. For all such reasons, members of this group are getting more and more alienated from one another. Gradually, they no longer speak in the group and it is sinking lower andlower in their mobile phones. This situation continues until one day when, a member of the group, June, who has always been helpful, inadvertently pours into the coffee for a client a bottle of human milk put by her superior in the pantry. Consequently,she has to find another bottle of human milk with which to replace the poured one, before the office hours are over on that day. At the end of her tether, she thinks of the group of friends who used to be so close. She approaches Isabelfor help. And Isabel begins to contact the other members of the group one by one. Although there are all sorts of conflicts and grudges among them, they decide to put aside their grudges for the time being in order to get the milk and help June out. In the process, everybody's grievances, complexes and problems that have long been repressed break loose once and for all. They are trying to rescue June as well as a network of friendship that is long gone.
Just when we thought he had gone ‘soft’ (pun intended), Pang Ho-cheung returns with an irreverent comedy that reminds us why he was once known as the enfant terrible of Hong Kong cinema. Oh yes, though you’d probably more readily associate him with the offbeat but moving ‘Love in the Buff’ rom-com trilogy, Pang’s call to fame (or should we say infamy?) was in fact a string of dark, often raunchy, comedies such as ‘Men Suddenly in Black’, ‘Vulgaria’ and ‘SDU: Sex Duties Unit’.
Undeniably, ‘Missbehavior’ is a lot more mainstream than those aforementioned titles, seeing as how it is also intended to be his first Chinese New Year movie. Yet his cheeky self is evident from the very premise, which sees a group of eight old friends of the mobile chat group ‘Pat Poh’ (which means ‘nosy bitches’ in Cantonese) reunite to help one of their own find a bottle of breast milk, in order to replace that which she had taken from the company fridge. Said lady June (June Lam) had mistaken the label ‘LF’ on the bottle (which so happen to be her boss’ initials) for low-fat milk, and used it to make coffee for a demanding client (Patrick Tse).
So begins a series of comedic misadventures which comprise farcical gags laced with sexual, even scatological humour, that is conceived with Pang’s signature wit and staged with his customary verve. One team comprising singer/ guitarist Minibus (Yanki Din) and gay couple Boris (our very own Tan Hanjin) and Frank (Tien You) will meet dodgy small-time enterprise owner Taobao Keung (Roy Szeto), who specialises in satisfying the fetishes and fantasies of his perverted clients. When that fails, they will land up changing into full-body ‘Smurf’ blue costumes to break into the residence where a confinement nanny (Susan Shaw) had arranged for them to steal her owner’s breast milk from the fridge.
At the same time, the group comprising the hairstylist Isabel (Isabel Chan) and busty Internet writer Rosalin (Dada Chan) will attempt to bribe some of the kids at a kindergarten where one of their own (Jo Koo) works as a teacher, including with cash and even physical gratification. And when that fails, Rosalin will reach out to her (understandably) male fanbase to offer ‘a bottle for a squeeze (of her bosom)’, thus inspiring offers from opportunists that include Vitasoy and even a cup of sperm. Oh yes, the humour does get pretty explicit, hence our advice about picking the right company to watch this with.
Yet you should know too that the premise isn’t just intended as excuse to unleash the sexually tinged hijinks; in fact, the reunion of these estranged friends is really intended as a poignant affirmation about not letting misunderstandings, grievances and even indifference diminish the friendships and/or relationships that matter to us. By the end of the movie therefore, Boris and Frank will come to realise just how much they still do care and love each other, after clearing the air about an incident which led the former to think the latter had lost interest in him. Similarly, former singing duo Minibus and Rosalin will stop sniping at each other, while PTU officer May (Gigi Leung) will finally be convinced that Isabel did not cheat on her with her philandering ex-boyfriend.
As those familiar with his comedies will know, Pang has always had a knack in assembling the right cast for his movies, and ‘Missbehaviour’ is no different. Dada Chan hams up her role as Rosalin with ditzy aplomb, while Tan Hanjin and Tien You put an affecting twist on the stereotype of gay couples having to look good for each other. Though there is less emphasis on the other ‘Pat Poh’ characters, the actresses gamely give it their all, including Gigi Leung as an insecure policewoman, Yanki Din as an alpha female and Isabel Chan as Dada’s sensible foil. Look out too for Lam Suet’s scene-stealing cameo as a rude ‘cha chaan teng’ waiter, and Pang’s own as both May and Isabel’s ex.
It should be apparent by now that ‘Missbehavior’ isn’t your typical wholesome family-friendly Chinese New Year movie, but by being naughtier, cheekier and even edgier, it also differentiates itself handily from the rest of the genre fare. And we would say that it is better off being a distinctively Pang Ho-cheung affair, even as it is arguably already more restrained than some of his earlier works. Bring your ‘sisters’, your friends and possibly even yourself alone to this tongue-firmly-in-cheek, comedy tour-de-force - amidst a very crowded slate in the cinemas this season, we dare say that you’ll probably laugh the loudest, craziest and hardest in this one.
(Not your typical wholesome family-friendly Chinese New Year comedy, Pang Ho-cheung's 'Missbehavior' is a laugh-out-loud, irreverent and even raunchy affair that you'll thoroughly enjoy with your friends)
Review by Gabriel Chong