This Chinese satire on filmmaking opens with disclaimer that promises filthy, politically-incorrect humor and then gives the audience a chance to leave.
And filthy humor it has, but surprisingly not that explicit. Not that I wanted much of it to be more explicit, but it's kind of surprising that a movie about a small-time film producer who is cornered into making a porno for the mob has nary an exposed breast in it. Ample cleavage...sure. Even the outline of erect nipples under a t-shirt. But considering the filthy subject matter, exposed titties are conspicuous in their absence.
Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself. After the warning, we open on a shot of our producer hero To (Chapman To) addressing an auditorium full of film students about the role of the producer. He opens by explaining that a producer is kind of like a big bush of pubes--ugly, smelly, undesirable things that exist to reduce friction and help the magic get made.
He then tells the story of the making of his latest film. How he was put in contact with a triad boss Brother Tyrannosaurus with odd tastes in food and odder tastes in sex. I'll try not to get too spoilery, but I will say that given how much the film is about film, I'm sure the dinner scene was meant to bring up memories of the banquet in THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.
Anyway, after a night that includes some "lost footage" that becomes a bit of a running gag, Brother Tyrannosaurus convinces producer To to make a sequel to the classic CONFESSIONS OF A CONCUBINE, which Brother Tyrannosaurus loved as a child. He even insists on getting the original star--Yum Yum Shaw--to star in it, even though she's an old lady now. So To has to deal with those logistics, Tyrannosaurus' insistence that his girlfriend be in the movie, and paying alimony to his ex-wife while trying to stay on good terms with his daughter. Oh, and he has to deal with a sexual harassment claim from his secretary and all sorts of other awful, hilarious shit that happens. At least one good point is his starlet/girlfriend "Popping Candy" (yes, there's a reason for that nickname but no spoilers here.)
It was funny and I liked it a lot. But I'm left wanting to hear from any actual independent producer who has seen the film and can tell me if this is at least emotionally realistic. I want to know if I'm laughing because it's true or because it's so unbelievable.
Oh, and since it's such a film-geek film, I'm sure it's also completely intentional that now whenever I hear "Also Sprach Zarathustra" I don't think of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, I think of "mule pussy."
Running Time: 92 minutes
My Total Minutes: 298,825