While statuesque Ai Ti lends her physique to this comedy, it is left to other more comely actresses to bare their assets in a tale about making it big in the former British colony. Stephen Tan reviews.


Sexy Career Girls (1980) plays like a slightly more sophisticated but definitely more adult version of The Country Bumpkins. Here, sisters Ai Ti and Ling Tai are from the countryside who try to be successful in Hongkong.

Ai Ti at first works as a cigarette girl - promoting cigarettes to passersby - but because of her looks, she eventually ends up working as a promotions manager in an advertising firm run by Law Ho Kai. Down on his luck, Law uses Ai Ti to land a job from aged tycoon Cheng Kwun Min. Infatuated by the promotions manager, tycoon Cheng makes a play for Ai Ti by offering her his wealth but she turns him down.

The innocent Ling Tai works as a maid for her cousin, Chan Wai Ying, in Hongkong. After being harassed and molested by Chan's lover (To Siu Ming), Ling decides to work for Kao Yuan and soon falls for the playboy. While Kao is a self-proclaimed womaniser, he has a soft spot for Ling and tries not to hurt her feelings. After a drunken incident, the two have sex. When Ling discovers she is pregnant, she decides to leave Kao.

While director Liu Kei has built up a reputation for himself as the king of erotic movies at Shaw Brothers in the '70s, his films are invariably soft-porn to the core. Also, Sexy Career Girls is one movie where viewers who walk in late won't be missing anything of importance. The first nude scene takes place about 27 minutes into the film. After discovering that her lover is trying to get fresh with her cousin, Chan Wai Ying then decides to spend the evening alone. She gets aroused looking at a magazine article which features lesbian sex and decides to hot things up (or cool things down, depending on the viewer's outlook) by stripping down and having a shower.

Then there is the sex scene between Kao Yuan and Ling Tai, which doesn't show anything! The next nude scene - and this looks like a typical Lui Kei touch - is where Kao Yuan and his three friends (basically it's the friends who are involved) who take pictures of two nude Caucasian women who are posing for them. Other filmmakers would have thought of more exciting ways to interest movie-goers than having three guys plainly photographing (and they aren't even voyeuristic in any way) two nubile women! What's uncharacteristic about this movie then, as compared to other erotic Shaw titles, is that while the sex and nudity seem pared down to a minimum, the full frontal shots seem more explicit than before.

While the late '70s was a time when the New Wave movies were the rage in Hongkong, they did not seem to have an impact on Liu Kei, whose movies play like bigger-budget Cantonese films shot in colour and widescreen. The comedies of Michael Hui (Games People Play or even The Last Message) were more realistic than this. For the Ai Ti character, who desires material wealth (she feels it's for her grandmother), a more cynical tone should have prevailed. For Ling Tai, it's pure movie hogwash. First she gets herself pregnant hoping that the guy would do the honorable thing. When that didn't happen, she decides to keep the baby, all the while hoping the guy would change his mind. And this being a feel-good movie, the guy does appear in the final reel to ask for her hand. If there's one thing about this movie, it's that being wily and devious can get you what you want!

Meanwhile, one certainly can't say that Liu Kei doesn't look after his fellow actors. Here, he cast veteran Cantonese actor Cheng Kwun Min as the aged tycoon who has his eyes on the statuesque Ai Ti. Like those black-and-white days, Cheng, who used to excel in lecherous roles, again doesn't get the ladies. Liu Kei would later cast such on-screen rivals as Wu Fung in 36 Secrets Of Courtship (1982).

Note: Sexy Career Girls is out only on VCD and is not available in $ingapore.

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