Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Teresa Mak in "Love is a Many Stupid Thing"

There are a number of things you can count on in a Wong Jing comedy including plenty of attractive actresses, generally dressed (or undressed) to hightlight their beauty. A movie from the Wong Jing cinema factory in the 1980s and 1990s might look as if it were slapped together in a few weeks--because they often were. Confused plots and semi-improvised dialog were either part of the charm or real annoyances to his audiences. But Wong always knew how to get a movie cast, shot, edited and to the distributor on time and under budget.

A typical example of this is "Love is a Many Stupid Thing" which features Teresa Mok as a tough Hong Kong police sergeant leading a squad of lovely police constables. She falls in love with the wrong guy, a handsome cop who is actually a mole from one of the Triads sent to infiltrate and spy on the police. Her moods go from coy to friendly to bloodthristy--in one scene she storms into a conference room and stomps the suspect then flirts with the officer who was questioning him. This is a movie in which Teresa Mak is one of an ensemble--probably the lead co-star if such a thing exists. It is a guy's movie with Eric Tsang and Chapman To keeping the slapstick humor going. Here are some pictures from "Love is a Many Stupid Thing".

The first two show her in uniform. Many actresses look great in police uniforms--Cynthia Khan, for example, clocked a lot of time as a Hong Kong policewoman--and Teresa looks quite fetching here as Sergeant Cool Lady:

Cool Lady (I am not making this up although it probably made a lot more sense when said in either Mandarin or Cantonese) attempts to involve herself in the conversation Watson (Raymond Wong Ho-Yin) is having with another cop on how to approach the suspect played by Tony Ho Wah-Chiu and who is described in the credits as "insane sex offender". She is already getting a bit wild-eyed since she has a crush on Watson.

Things develop poorly during the questioning to the mounting concern of Cool Lady and her squad who are watching through the two way mirror.

Here she tries to act demure and girlish toward Watson who she just rescued from the suspect who was smashing Watson's genitals under the table in the interrogation room. After kicking the bad guy in the head she simpers at the object of her affection:

One of the trademarks of Wong's work is actresses in their underwear. Watson and Cool Lady are staking out the bad guys from a rooftop. They fall off but each are able to grab a string of lights to slow thier fall. Cool Lady's dress gets ripped off leaving her on the ground in the rain in her not very revealing lingerie.
It isn't necessary to have the actress wet and partially undressed, of course. A simple snap front blouse that just barely closes over Cool Lady's breasts with the snaps pulling but not quite gaping is a slightly more understated look although still very effective:
Looking shocked, amazed, horrified or just plain angry is the stock in trade of any professional actress. Here Cool Lady has discovered that not only is Watson an underworld informant and is planning to kill her but that he never planned on marrying her.

"Love is a Many Stupid Thing" is not a bad movie for fans of Teresa Mak Ga-Kei. While she doesn't have much screen time she does pop up throughout the film and is often featured in the scenes she is in. The movie itself is funny in parts, dreadful in parts and occasionally confusing--in other words what one expects from Wong Jing.


  1. Well, I don't think I'm going to rush out and watch this movie, but I am curious what are your favorite Teresa Mak films.

    BTW, although Teresa never registered on my movie star radar, it turns out that I have seen a few films in which she played: Those Were the Days, Super Energetic Man, Electrical Girl, and Men Suddenly in Black.

  2. Can't really make a list of favorites because there are only a couple of films that could be called Teresa Mak films--at least ones in which she is the star. Soon I am going to post a filmography organized by type of role she has, although that seems a bit too categorical/Confucian/Cartesian. It would be along the lines of "Star" (45 Days Lover) "Buddy/Costar" (Love Me, Love My Money) "Actress who keeps her clothes on in a Cat III skinflick" (Tortured Sex Goddesses of the Ming Dynasty) "Part of Ensemble" (Brush Up My Sisters) plus possibly a few more.

    This is really the kind of effort that might make sense a few decades after her retirement.

  3. OK, fair enough! I've certainly got my own elusive star obsessions.