Director: Han Yew Kwang
Cast: Yeo Yann Yann , Julian Hee, Marcus Chin, Catherine Sng, Alaric Tay, Oon Shu An
Runtime: 1 hr 26 mins
Rating: R21 (Sexual Content)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures and Lighthouse Pictures
Opening Day: 30 April 2015
Synopsis: Condoms aren’t just for protection. They can also be used to save a failing marriage, seduce a plumber, or to punish a selfish playboy. And so it is for this quirky romance comedy in which nothing seems to make sense, and yet everything fits together nicely. Adam is a playboy who dislikes wearing condoms. One day, he wakes up with a condom that he can’t remove. Meanwhile, Ah Hua is contemplating divorcing her husband of 30 years. Ah Niu, who has been visiting prostitutes suddenly recalls how he tricked Ah Hua into thinking that condoms were balloons when he first pursued her so many years ago. On Valentine’s Day, Baoling does not have a date. When she comes home, she is shocked to find Durian, a talking condom who offers to teach her how to get a man.
Sex sells – how else would you explain the almost ridiculous commercial success of that certain erotic drama about that certain 50 shades of grey? Now, would a sex comedy - a Singaporean one – bring home big bucks at the box office? Will the inhabitants of this supposedly uptight island state flock to the cinemas to rekindle their laughs for a topic so, err, private? And how does this local feature fare when put alongside big budget Hollywoodtitles?
The 86 minute feature brings together three couples who find out what love (that’s the most politically correct way we can think of relaying the film’s overarching theme), thanks to condoms. Yup, you heard it right – condoms.
Unlike that other soon to be franchise that’s about that certain 50 shades of grey, this film is anything but erotic. And in a good way, viewers can, ahem, come (pardon the pun here) into the theatres expecting something that the other “so dull it’s not funny” movie about sadomasochism doesn’t have – heart.
The first story’s protagonist is a womaniser (Alaric Tay from TV’s The Noose) who isn’t a big fan of using condoms. When he is unable to get any girlfriends to fulfill his desire, he fantasises about an AV star (stage and TV actress Oon Shu An) and the two soon get into a sticky situation that requires some sucking and a Taoist exorcist.
Next up, we have a condom critic (Golden Horse Award Best Supporting Actress Yeo Yann Yann, Ilo Ilo) who imagines a human durian condom (the always delightful Lee Chau Min) who dishes advice on how to get hitched. Along comes a hunky plumber (Julian Hee, whose Corporal Darren Ho persona from TV’s Heartlanders we can’t shake off) to do some fixing up.
Making sure we do not forget our geriatric population, the film also features an old couple: the lady in the equation (veteran stage actress Catherine Sng) is fed up with her husband (TV and radio personality Marcus Chin) for always visiting a prostitute. This story explores how a failing marriage can be salvaged by a sweet memory involving blowing condoms.
One wonders what goes on in Han’s mind when the 39 year old filmmaker is conceptualising the script. An AV idol who comes (apologies for the pun again) out of the TV screen, a talking human sized condom and a salesman trying to sell dildos to a senior citizen – what would your teacher say if you penned a composition with these characters?
Do not diss the ever creative Han for injecting this element into his latest work. After the romantic 18 Grams of Love and the gender bending When Hainan Meets Teochew (both movies we loved a lot, by the way), this well produced title isn’t just about gross out juvenile comedy. The experienced TV scriptwriter has managed to put together a sometimes slapstick, sometimes bittersweet, sometimes insightful but always charming piece of work.
The partly crowd funded film is recommended also because of the cast ensemble. Tayis his usual likeable self despite taking on the role of a jerk, while Oon is surprisingly relatable (not everyone can pull the role of an AV actress who spends quite a bit of time at her co star’s crotch). Yeo effortlessly tackles her role of a sex starved but lonely woman while Hee provides eye candy. Sng and Chin’s segment may just make the more emotional viewers shed a few tears.
This film is quintessentially Singaporean: there’s Mandarin, Singlish and Hokkien, and thankfully, spoken in a natural manner (we can’t stand it when dialogue in local productions are recited in an all too pretentious way). You can almost feel the fun the cast and crew had making this film, from the outrageous scenes to the cameos played by industry friends. So please, come (one last attempt at this pun, please) watch this comedy, have a good laugh and take home whatever message you want to share with your loved ones.
(There’s heart – lots of it – in this charming comedy which gives you more than just gross out juvenile humour)
Review by John Li