Review: Women Who Flirt plays safe but will make you laugh

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 December, 2014, 10:41pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 December, 2014, 4:55pm

WOMEN WHO FLIRT
Starring: Zhou Xun, Huang Xiaoming, Sonia Sui Tang
Director: Pang Ho-cheung
Category: IIA (Putonghua)

Consider it the anti-Aberdeen. Earlier this year, Pang Ho-cheung opted to go local and largely serious, with a meditative drama about the members of a threegenerational family with roots in the town whose name translates into English as Little Hong Kong.

Now, with Women Who Flirt, the writer-director-producer offers up a breezy cross-strait romantic comedy in which a love triangle involves characters played by two mainland stars and a Taiwan-born model-actress.

Shanghai residents Angie (Zhou Xun) and Marco (Huang Xiaoming) are ex-college mates who now work together in the same company.

Bosom buddies for years, it’s obvious to everyone but Marco that Angie would dearly love their platonic relationship to turn passionate.

After Marco has his heart stolen by sexy Hailey (Sonia Sui Tang) on a visit to Taiwan, Angie’s gal pal May (Hsieh Yi-lin) decides that her professionally capable, but romantically inept, friend needs to learn more stereotypically feminine ways to beat the coquettish object of Marco’s affection at the game of love.

But what if it goes against Angie’s nature to become a woman who flirts?

Inspired by a flirting manual by Taiwanese writer Luo Fu-man (aka Lover Man), Women Who Flirt initially appears to endorse the conventional, yet disturbing, point of view that women need to pretend to be needier and more immature than they really are to be attractive to men.

But Pang’s enfant terrible reputation, and his choice of the short-haired, husky-voiced — and, as is noted at least once in the film, fairly flat-chested — Zhou Xun, provide clues that this entertaining effort won’t follow an entirely conformist route.

It’s less irreverent and incisive than, say, Vulgaria (2012), but the filmmaker shows that he can make people laugh even while playing relatively safe — thanks to the winning performances of its likeable leading lady and other prominent cast members.

There’s even a funny bonus scene as the credits roll.

 

Women Who Flirt opens on January 1