Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sophie Ngan in "Electrical Girl"

Jane Fong (Sophie Ngan) is a woman with a dark secret—or, in reality, a light secret since her difficulty is that she generates a strong electrical current when she has an orgasm. That she has a healthy appetite for sex and is extremely attractive only adds the chance of death by electrocution to the usual concerns of sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancies for unwary lovers. In consideration of the dangers to her potential partners Jane decides live an almost celibate life, using a light bulb (incandescent only, florescent bulbs are too big) to satisfy herself while masturbating in her bath.

Sophie Ngan’s matter of fact explanation, while (almost) covered with bubbles in her bathtub, is funny and sexy and gets the movie off to a memorable start. Things continue at the office; Jane and her three office mates spend a lot of time in the break room talking about their sex lives. Since the subtitles were funny (intentionally so in this case) the original Cantonese must have had the audience rolling in the aisles. Unfortunately the rest of “Electrical Girl” doesn’t match the economy of narrative and easy going humor of the first fifteen minutes of this Category III sex comedy.

Hope for Jane arrives when a friend tells her that she had sex with a doctor in his office, a doctor she had consulted because of a pain in her shoulder. Jane makes an appointment with Doctor Y. W. Kong (Charlie Cho Cha-Lee) who, from the way her friend describes his bedside manner, may be the guy who can cure her. He doesn’t—the treatment is a failure—but on the positive side the doctor survives his encounter with Jane by wearing enough insulating material to survive a lightning strike although the intense energy she emits does singe him a bit and blows out the speakers of his state of the art sound system. To her surprise Jane sees the first four of the six numbers needed to win the Mark 6 lottery while having sex with Dr. Kong and decides that winning millions of dollars is worth electrocuting a few strangers.

Charlie Cho suited up for action:

True love finally arrives in the form of Leo, the new office manager. All of the office ladies find him very attractive and all of them are more than willing to work late with him but Jane is the one he always picks. To her consternation all Leo wants to do is work even when she makes it clear that she is available. Leo is impotent, a condition that he has accepted and possibly dealt with by working 12 hours per day. Or he thinks he is impotent but is quite the opposite when sleeping and dreaming of Jane. However the conscious Leo has no social or sexual interest in Jane.

Jane is frustrated and heartbroken by Leo’s indifference to her and quits her job to work in a brothel under the tutelage of Kingdom Yuen who plays a goofy Mamasan. This sets the stage for her to encounter several long time Hong Kong character actors and for various reasons, some funny, not sleep with them.

There is a bit of a reversal of gender roles in “Electrical Girl”. It turns out that the impotent Leo only needs some electrical therapy from the right girl to cure him—this is the kind of casual thwarting of audience expectations that Hong Kong directors do very well. Almost invariably it is the female who has sexual difficulty, especially the twinned opposite of male impotence, female frigidity (not sure if that is even a term much in use anymore). It just takes the right guy with the right attitude to fix whatever problem causes a lack of desire in a woman. Here Leo seems to accept his limitations as a lover but from his reactions clearly wishes to have a sexual relationship with Jane and she is just the girl to set him to rights.

Whether one likes “Electrical Girl” is completely contingent on how one feels about Sophie Ngan’s acting talent and sensuous beauty

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