THE GOLDEN GIRLS tells the story of two young actresses striving for stardom and romance, and the writer caught between them. Not content to leave the film as merely the saccharine romantic comedy it could have been, writer-director Joe Ma Wai-ho imbues the production with a gentle
parody of the Hong Kong cinema and its various genres.
Best friends Mei Ball (Anita Yuen) and Lulu Shum (Ada Choi Siu-fun) are showgirls vying for their first starring role. Mei Ball gets cold feet until taken under the wing of scriptwriter Chun Wai (Lau Ching-wan). She manages a moving audition, but the producers find her too plain. Lulu's
performance is laughably dreadful, but her sexy glamour grabs the men's attention.
As Lulu's career soars, Mei Ball loses a bit part when she refuses the director's lascivious advances. Chun begs her to marry him, but she flees, vowing to accept an offer of marriage from her wealthy cousin in Borneo. She returns for the premiere of Lulu's film to find that in her absence Chun
and Lulu have become lovers. Slowly, Chun and Mei Ball's feelings rekindle, but neither dares to act.
When the male lead storms off the set of Lulu's next film, Mei Ball takes his role as a gimmick. She begins wearing boyish clothing in public, and, unintentionally stealing the limelight from Lulu, is pursued by both male and female fans. Gossip brews and Lulu wrongly suspects that Mei Ball and
Chun are having an affair.
Mei Ball's cousin arrives, and she announces their engagement. Chun retaliates by proposing to Lulu. At the altar, Lulu frees Chun to return to Mei Ball, who is thought to have sailed for Borneo. Mei Ball and Chun reunite on the set of a samurai film.
While too many scenes in THE GOLDEN GIRLS appear hastily thrown together, others are lavishly satisfying, thanks to a 1960s setting constructed with occasionally vibrant production design, replete with the odd hula hoop. In keeping with the wholesome, nostalgic tone, the modicum of violence tends
toward the slapstick, and except for some conversations among the girls, the love affairs are rendered rather chastely.
Inconsistencies aside, THE GOLDEN GIRLS offers a heart-warming happily-ever-after ending and some charming reflections on the romantic and filmic proceedings along the way. Films-within-the-film poke fun at Hong Kong cinema's various genres, from the turgid, solemn sword-fighting film to the
nauseatingly sweet romance, and its general commercialism. The cousin from Borneo is a show-biz wannabe worthy of GET SHORTY (1995).
While the film may suffer in some aspects from comparison to the slicker HE'S A WOMAN, SHE'S A MAN (1994), in which Yuen also plays a young woman on her way to unexpected success in show business and in love with a slightly older man--and has to cross-dress to get there--her buoyancy keeps this
film afloat. She is warmly complemented by the sincere, if hangdog, Lau. (Violence.)
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- Released: 1995
- Review: THE GOLDEN GIRLS tells the story of two young actresses striving for stardom and romance, and the writer caught between them. Not content to leave the film as merely the saccharine romantic comedy it could have been, writer-director Joe Ma Wai-ho imbues th… (more)