I'm Your Birthday Cake
Reviewed by YTSL
At one point in this Wong Jing production,
Chingmy Yauís character is heard to bemoan that ďI think Iím not a person
but a bottle of aphrodisiac.Ē Since she also announces at the start
of this 1995 movie that ďI am an indecent presentĒ (while performing a
tease of a dance, more than one variation and rehearsal of which can be
seen at other points in the work), itís not exactly a state of affairs
that would surprise too many people. Ditto re the sight of her in
a billowing white dress that recalls images of Marilyn Monroe causing at
least one man to excitedly announce to his brother that ďIíve just experienced
priapism (for) the first time in five yearsĒ!
IíM YOUR BIRTHDAY CAKE is most definitely a film
made for fans of Chingmy Yau. Lest it be thought to be otherwise
though, this female (re)viewer will state her opinion that the cinematic
offering whose scriptwriter is credited as being Bat Si Nui Yan -- i.e.,
ďNot a WomanĒ in Cantonese... -- is one that can be enjoyed by heterosexual
women as well as men, bisexuals of either gender and lesbians whose funny
bones are easily tickled -- and sensibilities not readily offended -- by
the kind of jokes for which Wong Jing works are famed. After all,
in case the fact has escaped the attention of people, this obvious vehicle
for a not untalented actress who I primarily adore for her chipmunky cuteness
really is more of a comedy than anything else; something that should be
quite apparent from the movieís main supporting characters having first
names like Sorry, Honey, Water and Mountain, and there additionally being
an obnoxious lawyer character in it called Andy Lau
Thereís also the quite laughable-in-itself idea
that Chingmy Yau -- even with spectacles -- could be the kind of gal whose
not completely idiotic boyfriend of seven years would want to leave --
on her birthday -- for another woman who he has known for only a few days.
Clearly, the brains behind IíM YOUR BIRTHDAY CAKE realized this (too).
Hence their making her Cher Lo character one whose ex-lover is heard to
complain: Wants to be home before 10 p.m. every night; will only
go to bed with him on Saturdays; insists on switching off all the lights
after getting into bed with him; and forces him to wear two condoms whenever
they have sex.
Around the time that this personal calamity befalls
her, Cherís fatherís has a business deal (with a couple of Mainland Chinese
men) go badly awry. News of the financial fallout from this possibly
including the bankruptcy of his company gives him a heart attack.
While heís in hospital, a desperate Cher -- who, like her friend Sorry
(Amanda Lee plays her as a bit of an extroverted and opinionated ditz),
works for her father -- searches for a way to prevent the family firm from
going under. As luck would have it, someone they seek help from turns
out to be a man (Water Lam gets portrayed by Ekin Cheng) who offers Cher
$30 million -- okay, we know itís Hong Kong dollars; but thatís still quite
a bit of money! -- to sleep just once with his brother who happened to
catch sight of her one day and hasnít been able to get her out of his mind
ever since (The not easily aroused Mountain Lam is played by Kong Wa).
Out of a sense of charity -- Cher announces about
the building magnate, who became impotent after being hurt in an accident
which occurred when getting his younger brother out of harmís way on a
construction site, that ďI hope to offer him interest of [sic.] lifeĒ!
-- as well as desperation, the usually straight-laced woman agrees to the
deal, which involves her getting trained to whet, not just satisfy, Mountainís
appetite by a flaming gay man named Honey Chan (seemingly portrayed with
great enthusiasm -- and actually quite amusingly! -- by Michael Wong).
Slowly but surely, the audience of IíM YOUR BIRTHDAY CAKE is witness to
a metamorphosis meant to be akin to that of the ugly duckling turning into
a swan (although in Cantonese slang, it would be a chicken as well as the
more graceful bird). Just as predictably as well as gradually, the
well-meaning Water discovers that he is attracted to the very good and
nice gal he hired to ďcureĒ his beloved elder brother.
Many Wong Jing productions often seem to run out
of steam -- if not scattershot ideas -- somewhere in the middle or near
the end of them. This is not the case with the not too maniacally
paced IíM YOUR BIRTHDAY CAKE. Ditto re its storyís rather sweet resolution
not feeling all that tacked on or forced. Consequently, I actually
donít think the scriptwriter had too much to feel embarassed about, and
-- the Hong Kong movie world being unlike Hollywood; thank goodness! --
can see why it was that the star of this admittedly silly yet quite enjoyable
show copped a HKFA Best Actress nomination for a performance that truly
utilized her unique brand of wholesome sexiness.
My rating for the film: 7.
Reviewed by Brian
Geez, I can't believe that YTSL rates this
film higher than I do! Not that watching Chingmy in this didn't steam open
my pores and curl my toes - but in an attempt to be an objective critic
I had to take into account the fact that unless you are a dedicated Chingmy
enthusiast there isn't much else here. On the Chingmy meter though this
film would have to be rated as a classic. Here in one place you get to
enjoy both sides of the Chingmy appeal. There is of course the hot
as a flame-thrower sex image of Chingmy - that she earned with sizzling
performances in Naked Killer, Raped by an Angel and Lover of the Last Empress
- but there is also the image that YTSL has correctly termed "Chipmunky".
Actually, the vast majority of Chingmy's roles are more in this mode -
cute, sweet, goofy, comical and usually looking for love.
Watching Chingmy's metamorphosis from the latter
into the former is a treat. Of course, during the opening credits there
is the famous Chingmy strip tease (with the emphasis on tease) - but before
you go running to your local dvd store I should mention that Chingmy doesn't
show much more than a sultry pout and a stare that pierces your defenses
like a finely honed blade. After this "priaptic" beginning the film tones
down rapidly - as fortunately did my heart rate - but there are a few other
scenes later on that should have had warnings to check with your physician
first before proceeding! It is amazing how sexy and provocative Chingmy
can be without showing much more than a glimpse of underwear or a flash
of leg. This is why I will stick to my opinion that Chingmy is a very underrated
actress. Being sexy isn't easy - and mixing sexiness and innocence is even
more difficult - but no one did it better than Chingmy.
My rating for this film: 6.5
Distributed by Mei Ah
The transfer is actually quite decent - sharp
and Chingmy looks luscious.
Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks.
There is no menu
The subtitles are burnt on Chinese and English.