May We Chat (2013)
Reviewed by: STSH on 2014-07-07
Summary: Updated Girls Behaving Badly
While it is difficult to like the vacuous and foul-mouthed trio at the centre of MWC, the story eventually becomes involving and even compelling. The first half is rambling and jumps around a lot. Tougher editing would have helped to tighten up this portion, and the removal of 20 to 30 minutes of extraneous and repetitive material would have been a great improvement.

Some elements of the first half are well-grounded. The frequent references to and cuts from Lonely Fifteen (1982) give a useful background and provide anchoring, though this is rather overdone as well. The portrait of street life seems (at least to an Australian who last visited the then-colony in 1989) to be compelling, realistic but also cinematic. The glamour of the shopping malls nicely counterpoints the grunge and bloodletting of the gang punks, although the police come off as very much the good guys who save the day.

The big surprise for me is Irene Wan who, even under makeup and double-false eyelashes, looks fantastic. Wow mama ! She and the other mothers here are as empty-headed as the young girls, a point which is made over and over. They try but fail to be responsible parents despite, in the case of Irene's character, being wealthy.

Peter is a character that is acted with pathos and believeability. Also from Lonely Fifteen, Peter was a bigshot triad who now limps and pimps. He is a father figure to his teen hookers and trades on his now-former reputation as a tough guy, which eventually lands him straight into jeopardy.

Now to the main trio. Telling these girls apart is made difficult by two (or is it all three) of them often appearing in the same pink wig. Big Teeth Yan, a bottle blonde, is usually the one with the wig, but events jump around so much it is hard to tell. That the trio are so often chatting on mobiles, and that their chat icons are shown in side-titles is supposed to cover this confusion, but the icons do not show up clearly enough to be much help.

There are quite a few strong sex scenes, but only one with full frontal nudity, and that is where Yee-Gee, pressed into service as a hooker to help locate the kidnapped Wai-Wai, is ill-treated by Fat John, a monstrous bald tub of lard who makes this a horror scene. He pushes the girl's face very hard, then she stabs him repeatedly. This gory scene is truly horrifying.

The first-timers trio are no great shakes as actors. They range from whiny to hysterical and sullen but not much else. Despite being the prime movers of the story, they seem as much caught up in the current of events.

This is mainly the director's picture. Things clip along at a cracking pace in the second half. The story makes much more sense, there is a lot of action, and any holes in the plot or substandard acting are quickly glossed over.

Based on the second half, I would have given MWC 8/10. I deducted a point for the unnecessary 20-30 minutes in the first half. In short, a second good effort from the director, with promise of much better to come.
Reviewer Score: 7