Prince Charming (1984)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2008-02-10
“Prince Charming” has the ingredients contained in most romantic comedies: double entendre, mistaken identity, switching identities, some sexual tension (not very much in this case) with hints there might be more going on than is shown. There are a few funny bits, particularly when May’s sister is preparing her for the first date with the man she thinks is a triad soldier. Elaine Kam goes through all the moves that Cherie Chung can expect during the movie and shows her the countermoves, giving them the kind of names and very specific actions—“Seven Seas”, “Claw” “Eagle Stretch”—that one would see in a period martial arts movie, culminating in showing her the ultimate weapon, a brassiere made of metal with spikes protruding from it. At the same time Nat Chan is showing Kenny Bee a completely different way to get his hands where they don’t belong by dumping an ice cream cone in her lap and then wiping it up. It seems very odd for a bit when one realizes that the actors are playing men and women in their twenties or thirties acting like very young teenagers but simply going along with the sniggering prurience typical of Hong Kong movies of the period dealing with sex makes it work.

The entertainment value of “Prince Charming isn’t in the plot or characters but in the actors themselves, particularly seeing Maggie Cheung in her first feature and Cherie Chung still quite early in her career. Maggie was still quite raw—and still had her chubby cheeks—and her fans are thankful that producers, directors and others charged with casting HK movies in the middle 1980s saw the huge upside of her talent. The only interesting character was the seductive enchantress Yun Piao Piao, perfectly portrayed by Rosamund Kwan. Brought in by Chen Pi Hou—the reliably slimy Charlie Cho—to help him cover up his embezzling from the company, she soon realizes that life would be simpler without him. While continuing to enchant the gullible Chen Li Pen she casually throws her erstwhile accomplice to the sharks. Even though her plan to marry a wealthy and unsophisticated young man falls through, one gets the sense at the end of the movie that Yun will be just fine. Based on his roving eye, her next conquest might be quite near, Chen Li Pin’s father.

Set design in romantic comedies, especially the very fluffy ones, seems to favor the gargantuan and this is no exception with offices the size of factories, hotel rooms as large as conference rooms and apartments with twenty foot ceilings. The cinematography is routine, the script jejune and the jokes have more misses than hits but the three leading ladies are reason enough to keep one’s thumb away from the fast forward button
Reviewer Score: 5