Gigolo and Whore

What a dumb love story this one is. It actually has two of the best HK actors in Simon Yam and Carina Lau, but I don’t think they will be showing film clips of this one if they ever receive a Lifetime Achievement Award ! It almost reaches that level of being so ridiculous that it is kind of fun. Can you imagine two Hollywood stars in a vehicle like this one is? Only in HK.
Simon getting ready for work - he has to take his clothes off !
Simon has beautiful clothes, a snazzy car, a huge apartment overlooking HK harbor and style to burn. Being a gigolo in HK can be good. Carina Lau has just arrived from the mainland to stay with her cousin who she encounters on the stairwell conducting business. As her cousin tells her later she is a “pecking fowl” or what is more commonly known as a prostitute. Well Carina can’t find much else to do that makes money so she declares to her new buddy Simon “I’m going to be the King of Whores”.
Carina - the King of Whores
As any good friend would, Simon volunteers to teach her to be the very best. So they go through an intensive educational period as Simon teaches Carina about clothes, how to exercise, to talk and of course most importantly how to moan. He tells her that people in their profession must be willing to betray “their body, their dignity and their love”. Ah, the sacrifices you must make for your art. Of course when they make love together it is a bit complicated - "no I'll pay - no you paid last time"
and don't forget your dignity and your body
They go into a restaurant to celebrate Carina’s graduation and Simon points out a fat man and says that is her first target. All of a sudden it hit me that Simon was basically playing the same character he did in Black Cat where he had to train Jade Leung to be a killer. Simon is truly the master!
Killer or gigolo - Simon is always cool
As hard as it is to imagine, the film gets even sillier after this. It’s not as if the movie makers were aiming for very much here and they still missed their target – especially when they actually try and go for some drama.

Reviewed by YTSL

Ever wondered what would happen if Hong Kong movie makers crossed "My Fair Lady" with "Pretty Woman"? Well, GIGOLO AND WHORE appears to be the result of one attempt at doing so; with Simon Yam in the role of the kinder, gentler gigolo version of Prof. Henry Higgins (!), Alex Fong as a client who explicitly points out that he shares the same first name as Mr. Gere, and Carina Lau as the Mainland Chinese ugly duckling who turns into a chicken -- Cantonese (and also, incidentally, Kiswahili!) slang for a prostitute -- as well as a swan.

Okay, maybe you have to be in the right mood to watch the movie -- the way that you also have to be with the likes of "I'm Your Birthday Cake" and "Boys Are Easy" -- and even then, it would never be mistaken as the classiest of movies (be it in terms of execution as well as premise)...but, to its credit, the film's makers clearly have no such aspirations or pretensions.  With this in mind, and particularly if you think of it as a romantic comedy (rather than a drama), it's actually not too bad an effort at all!

And this movie definitely does have some inspired as well as amusing "only in Hong Kong movies" moments. Among them are:  Meditations by Simon Yam on sex between a man and a woman being akin to one's scratching one's itchy ear with a finger, and men liking women to be shaped like Coke bottles; Simon teaching Carina how to sound pleasured rather than pained; and Carina's "before" and "after" training noodle shop jingle-singing performances.

N.B. Carina Lau turns in a sweet as well as versatile performance, and was rewarded with a Hong Kong "Best Actress" award nomination for her work in this movie.  One can't help but think that she surely was drawing on her experiences of having been a Mainland Chinese girl who eventually made good in Hong Kong after initially being the butt of ridicule because of her different dressing style, demeanor and accented Cantonese (something she recalled in a Newsweek article which was written around the time of Hong Kong's "Hand-Over").

My rating for this film:  7.