I'm Your Birthday Cake



Reviewed by YTSL

At one point in this Wong Jing production, Chingmy Yauís character is heard to bemoan that ďI think Iím not a person but a bottle of aphrodisiac.Ē  Since she also announces at the start of this 1995 movie that ďI am an indecent presentĒ (while performing a tease of a dance, more than one variation and rehearsal of which can be seen at other points in the work), itís not exactly a state of affairs that would surprise too many people.  Ditto re the sight of her in a billowing white dress that recalls images of Marilyn Monroe causing at least one man to excitedly announce to his brother that ďIíve just experienced priapism (for) the first time in five yearsĒ!

IíM YOUR BIRTHDAY CAKE is most definitely a film made for fans of Chingmy Yau.  Lest it be thought to be otherwise though, this female (re)viewer will state her opinion that the cinematic offering whose scriptwriter is credited as being Bat Si Nui Yan -- i.e., ďNot a WomanĒ in Cantonese... -- is one that can be enjoyed by heterosexual women as well as men, bisexuals of either gender and lesbians whose funny bones are easily tickled -- and sensibilities not readily offended -- by the kind of jokes for which Wong Jing works are famed.  After all, in case the fact has escaped the attention of people, this obvious vehicle for a not untalented actress who I primarily adore for her chipmunky cuteness really is more of a comedy than anything else; something that should be quite apparent from the movieís main supporting characters having first names like Sorry, Honey, Water and Mountain, and there additionally being an obnoxious lawyer character in it called Andy Lau
Thereís also the quite laughable-in-itself idea that Chingmy Yau -- even with spectacles -- could be the kind of gal whose not completely idiotic boyfriend of seven years would want to leave -- on her birthday -- for another woman who he has known for only a few days.  Clearly, the brains behind IíM YOUR BIRTHDAY CAKE realized this (too).  Hence their making her Cher Lo character one whose ex-lover is heard to complain:  Wants to be home before 10 p.m. every night; will only go to bed with him on Saturdays; insists on switching off all the lights after getting into bed with him; and forces him to wear two condoms whenever they have sex.
Around the time that this personal calamity befalls her, Cherís fatherís has a business deal (with a couple of Mainland Chinese men) go badly awry.  News of the financial fallout from this possibly including the bankruptcy of his company gives him a heart attack.  While heís in hospital, a desperate Cher -- who, like her friend Sorry (Amanda Lee plays her as a bit of an extroverted and opinionated ditz), works for her father -- searches for a way to prevent the family firm from going under.  As luck would have it, someone they seek help from turns out to be a man (Water Lam gets portrayed by Ekin Cheng) who offers Cher $30 million -- okay, we know itís Hong Kong dollars; but thatís still quite a bit of money! -- to sleep just once with his brother who happened to catch sight of her one day and hasnít been able to get her out of his mind ever since (The not easily aroused Mountain Lam is played by Kong Wa).
Out of a sense of charity -- Cher announces about the building magnate, who became impotent after being hurt in an accident which occurred when getting his younger brother out of harmís way on a construction site, that ďI hope to offer him interest of [sic.] lifeĒ! -- as well as desperation, the usually straight-laced woman agrees to the deal, which involves her getting trained to whet, not just satisfy, Mountainís appetite by a flaming gay man named Honey Chan (seemingly portrayed with great enthusiasm -- and actually quite amusingly! -- by Michael Wong).  Slowly but surely, the audience of IíM YOUR BIRTHDAY CAKE is witness to a metamorphosis meant to be akin to that of the ugly duckling turning into a swan (although in Cantonese slang, it would be a chicken as well as the more graceful bird).  Just as predictably as well as gradually, the well-meaning Water discovers that he is attracted to the very good and nice gal he hired to ďcureĒ his beloved elder brother.
Many Wong Jing productions often seem to run out of steam -- if not scattershot ideas -- somewhere in the middle or near the end of them.  This is not the case with the not too maniacally paced IíM YOUR BIRTHDAY CAKE.  Ditto re its storyís rather sweet resolution not feeling all that tacked on or forced.  Consequently, I actually donít think the scriptwriter had too much to feel embarassed about, and -- the Hong Kong movie world being unlike Hollywood; thank goodness! -- can see why it was that the star of this admittedly silly yet quite enjoyable show copped a HKFA Best Actress nomination for a performance that truly utilized her unique brand of wholesome sexiness.

My rating for the film:  7.


Reviewed by Brian

Geez, I can't believe that YTSL rates this film higher than I do! Not that watching Chingmy in this didn't steam open my pores and curl my toes - but in an attempt to be an objective critic I had to take into account the fact that unless you are a dedicated Chingmy enthusiast there isn't much else here. On the Chingmy meter though this film would have to be rated as a classic. Here in one place you get to enjoy both sides of  the Chingmy appeal. There is of course the hot as a flame-thrower sex image of Chingmy - that she earned with sizzling performances in Naked Killer, Raped by an Angel and Lover of the Last Empress - but there is also the image that YTSL has correctly termed "Chipmunky". Actually, the vast majority of Chingmy's roles are more in this mode - cute, sweet, goofy, comical and usually looking for love.

Watching Chingmy's metamorphosis from the latter into the former is a treat. Of course, during the opening credits there is the famous Chingmy strip tease (with the emphasis on tease) - but before you go running to your local dvd store I should mention that Chingmy doesn't show much more than a sultry pout and a stare that  pierces your defenses like a finely honed blade. After this "priaptic" beginning the film tones down rapidly - as fortunately did my heart rate - but there are a few other scenes later on that should have had warnings to check with your physician first before proceeding! It is amazing how sexy and provocative Chingmy can be without showing much more than a glimpse of underwear or a flash of leg. This is why I will stick to my opinion that Chingmy is a very underrated actress. Being sexy isn't easy - and mixing sexiness and innocence is even more difficult - but no one did it better than Chingmy.

My rating for this film: 6.5



DVD Information:

Distributed by Mei Ah

The transfer is actually quite decent - sharp and Chingmy looks luscious.

Letterboxed

Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks.

There is no menu

The subtitles are burnt on Chinese and English.



 

Hey, Chingmy my birthday is coming up soon !