Vulgaria – Review

A series of vignettes disguised as a complete narrative, Vulgaria centres on a B-movie producer (Chapman To), a generally hapless fellow with sinking finances, and who likens his job to the function of pubes (don`t even ask). He recounts his tribulations to an audience of cinema students and the result is a deluge of over-the-top, highly coarse humour. We`re not going to divulge too many details here, but suffice to say that the highlight is a scene involving an eccentric gangster (Ronald Cheng), our hapless hero, and an even more hapless donkey. Thank heavens the action was implied off-screen. There`s erotic video games, uncanny fellatio, aging starlets and no plot development to speak of, but we aren`t exactly complaining. The film also manages to pull all this off without a single frame of nudity, a dubious achievement given the sordidness implied off-screen.

It`s not high art by any stretch of the imagination, but Vulgaria is buoyed by a charismatic cast, a salty script and some highly imaginative premises. The film may have too scatter-shot an approach to appeal to everybody, but one can`t help but empathise with Chapman To`s fish out of water portrayal of his perpetually worried character. Needless to say, one needs to have a slightly sadistic temperament and a taste for the musicality of Cantonese obscenities to enjoy the detailed nuances of the profanities in this film. We`re not even kidding, as we had to engage a Cantonese-speaking friend to explain some of the crazier curses.

Vulgaria is a low-brow, meta-framing, obscenity-spewing number that entertains with its exaggerated premises and its funhouse mirror parody of the inner workings of the film industry. It`s a hoot and a half, but not exactly wholesome fun for the entire family.

Summary: #@F***%#$*(.)(.)===D~*##^ (Obscenities were deleted as they`re unprintable)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Raphael Lim