Back when your grandparents were dating – let’s make that era sometime in the 1950’s, a film star was known the world over for simply standing on a grating on a Manhattan street and having a wind draft from below lift up her skirt.
That would be the legendary Marilyn Monroe and the film was called The Seven Year Itch. Monroe’s career was already in high gear by that time (1955), and an iconic picture like what was used in the film’s poster (to the right), only added to her allure. Sadly, she died in her sleep in 1962, having made, in fact, only six more films after this one.
This film was a male fantasy of course. Tom Ewell played the male lead whose wife goes out of town for a period of time, and then, a dreamy, single, sexy blond bombshell moves into the apartment upstairs. Fantasies ran rampant through his head after chatting with her, when she said to him, “When it’s hot like this, you know what I do? I keep my undies in the icebox.”
Yes, he went through a period of what came to be called, for any man, after this movie, as the seven-year-itch. This is when a married man, who might be stuck in a loveless marriage, or when his marriage has sort of gotten a tad stale, starts looking elsewhere.
Nearly 50 years later, in 2004, a similar film was produced in Hong Kong. There was no sexy blond to divert this male lead’s attention; instead, this film had a trio of great looking women to complete the story.
The film was called Itchy Heart and was directed by Matt Chow. The hero, called Poon Chi-man was played by the wonderful Hong Kong actor Lau Ching-Wan. His career was slow to start but he’s gone on to win the Hong Kong equivalent of an Oscar, and he’s played in everything from cute rom/coms, and straight dramatic roles, to cops and robbers with a flair that has made him a very popular movie star.
Okay, one night after dinner, his wife, played by Coco Chiang (below), tells him she’s flying up to Japan on a shopping expedition with her girl friend, and she’ll be gone for the weekend.
That makes him a free man. Maybe just temporarily, but nonetheless – free! His cousin calls him and they go off to a disco or a dance club. But he’s not been ‘out there‘ for more than seven years and so, he’s wildly out of touch with the younger women who make up the disco crowd.
But after some eye contact across the room, he does make a connection with a pretty young thing, played to perfection by the gorgeous Cherrie Ying who happens to be called Cherry in the film.
He’s dazzled, and so was I, but she soon has to leave. But, in a miracle that can only happen in the movies, she has a thing for older men, and she asks for his phone number.
Later that same night, in the same dance club, he sees his ex-girlfriend Bing. She’s not only there having a good time, but she also owns the place. She is played by one of Hong Kong’s leading actresses, Carina Lau (above), who had a prominent role in Infernal Affairs 2. Once upon a time, Chi-man and Bing had shared a thrilling relationship together. After it ended, he met another woman, who would become his wife. But Chi-man had not seen Bing since.
A few hours ago this guy’s wife had left to go on a shopping trip and now he is up to his eyeballs in women. One older, familiar, and still sexy, and the other, younger, newer, and oh so very exciting.
Well, Lau, as Chi-man now begins to live out this fantasy. His seven-year-itch is soon in full swing. We, who are watching, could not be happier as we follow along, wishing we were in his shoes, vicariously enjoying the thrill ride that has begun.
Sorry, there won’t be any more plot details; you will have to see the film yourself to find out what happens. But rest assured, this is a well done, light-hearted, romantic comedy which provides us with a look at how men and women deal with life, love, and extra-marital sex in modern Asia, Hong Kong style.
The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, and while most of it is terrific, a few other parts seem a bit strained. But since you have found yourself at The Arts blog, where beauty is appreciated, this is a perfect film for you. You will definitely enjoy the beauties that populate this movie.
My overall opinion is that I do recommend Itchy Heart. You can rent it from Netflix or Blockbuster. Or you may purchase it from several internet vendors like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and HKFlix. There’s eye candy galore. I mean, 90 minutes, and lots and lots of Cherrie Ying and Carina Lau. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Besides this film being great looking, you’ll find that there’s lots of laughs and that Lau as Chi-man does a great turn as an everyman living out a fantasy. Despite the fact that some of the situational set ups created to get some laughs are obvious, and very predictable, I found this film to be very appealing and most enjoyable.