11:00 - 21st June 2013, by Calum Waddell


This was the biggest grossing Hong Kong film of 2012, although it is perhaps best described as a Cantonese language version of Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Despite an opening credit scroll promising all kinds of salacious slapstick, and a plot focusing on the wonderful world of pornography, Vulgaria is surprisingly softcore.

The latest outing from filmmaker Pang Ho-Cheung, the man behind the Category III horror hit Dream Home, introduces us to a sex producer called To Wai-Cheung (well played by Chapman To) who is seeking to remake the old classic Confessions of a Concubine. The main running joke in Vulgaria is that the producers demand the return of the original performer who, having once bumped and grinded her way to fame in the '70s, is now an old lady (played, rather fittingly, by Shaw Yin Yin - the actress from the original Confessions of a Concubine). Thankfully, To comes up with the idea of putting her head onto the body of an eager young starlet - after all, CGI can do anything these days. This leads to its own hurdles and lots of gags centred around fellatio, breast size and erectile dysfunction. Unfortunately, very little here is funny. The main problem is that the visuals are extremely tame: there is no skin and no sex so everything needs to be alluded to rather than shown.

Certainly, there is a great idea in here, and its meta-movie credentials will likely appeal to those with an interest in the Hong Kong sex film genre, but others may feel a little left out on the joke.

Fans of Confessions of a Concubine - the 1976 production which is given the retro-homage treatment in Vulgaria - may get more from this contemporaneous comedy than those who have not seen the original...
SCORE: 2.5/5
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