PG Love 2016 Review: The film is composed of three stories that are intercut but never interact

PG Love is 2016 in a long line of Hong Kong films dishing on the lives of girls in the service industry – and by service industry. I mean the various Hong Kong businesses that use pretty young women as eye candy to entice horny guys. This romantic dramedy skews towards the less sordid end of that spectrum. Looking at product promoters and club girls rather than full-on prostitutes.

However, the line between the professions is sometimes perceived as a thin one, and PG Love covers that range by having some of its girls use their bodies for gain while others don’t – and yet they’re accused of being wanton moneygrubbers anyway. Oh, the injustice. This is where the film usually empathizes with the girls, concluding with a message like. “Hey, these girls are people with hopes, dreams and emotions too!” It’s an old formula and PG Love doesn’t stray far from it.

Directed by Charlie Choi, PG Love (Gai Nganh) is composed of three stories that are intercut but never interact. Aging promoter Phoenix (Jacqueline Chong) returns to the biz after a stint in prison. But her attitude and age make for rough going. Luckily, she has spear-bald dope Happy (Bob Lam) to help her find jobs and occasionally bail her out. Will Phoenix repair her attitude and accept Bob as a decent if largely unattractive suitor?

Meanwhile, hot-to-trot pals Sugar (Jumbo Tsang) and Candy (Anita Chui) work as hostesses, cynically stealing from their clients when given the chance. Both set their eyes on stock trader Vincent (Alan Luk). But he might not be as refined and decent as he seems. Finally, college girl Ching (Angie Shum) works as a beer promoter to pay for a trip to Europe with her boyfriend Wai (Edward Ma). However, when Wai discovers Ching’s line of work, the trip and their relationship may be in jeopardy.

Despite Charlie Choi’s director credit, this is writer-producer Patrick Kong’s joint through and through. Many of Kong’s trademarks are present and accounted for, including unlikeable characters, droning expository speeches, and cynical plot twists. That said, the film is better than many Kong works because it isn’t as pretentious or showy about its romantic musings. And Bob Lam and Jacqueline Chong (Trang Tu Man) demonstrate something resembling decent chemistry.

There’s also minor raunch going on, along with a few dashes of LOL-worthy unintentional humor. Given the cast (C-list actors or worse), the filmmakers (ahem, Patrick Kong) and genre (trashy youth romance), PG Love could have ended up as insulting or intolerable. But the comedy (phim hai hong kong) is neither, and qualifies as a kindler, gentler Lan Kwai Fong for casual filmgoers. Oddly, the least served might be Patrick Kong devotees. Who may prefer more over-the-top plot twists and betrayals than the comparatively mild ones featured here. This review comes from LoveHKfilm.com.

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