Nobody’s Perfect (絕代雙嬌)


A truism: nobody’s perfect. Few people make perfect movies either, so here we are. This Patrick Kong film takes the Freaky Friday body switch formula and adds little to the catalogue. It’s the usual cautionary tale of examining one’s own faults and changing for the better, except with Hong Kong pop culture references thrown in for local flavor. And with Kong’s two Gold Typhoon starlets, Stephy Tang and Kary Ng, you can bet someone’s going to start out a high-decibeled diva before getting her comeuppance.

This honor goes to Tang, who plays the condescending, harpy celebrity gossip peddler Alexandra. She is insufferable to the people around her and (in no way a statement on paparazzi and/or tone-deaf depictions of women) a danger to society. In one scene, she nearly runs over a woman before telling the poor old lady to die.

Several octaves lower but no less excitable is her foil Alexis, played by Ng. She is the Cinderella of sorts, mocked by her former classmates, rejected by her crush, and spurned by her brother’s fiancée’s family. But, damn, is she sweet.

In a “blink and you miss it” moment, the two switch places and proceed to encounter all the difficulties one does when inhabiting another’s body. Alexandra needs to find a way to maintain her gossip portfolio with no help from the naïve Alexis. Alexis meanwhile wants to save the family’s traditional bridal business from being bought out (again, not a commentary on shrinking family businesses in Hong Kong), but Alexandra’s quick temper threatens to further escalate domestic tensions.

Ideally, there would be more to say about the plot, but this isn’t that sort of movie. Though I might put Nobody’s Perfect out there as another example of shameful racial insensitivity. Chrissie Chau disguises herself in smudgy blackface as a helper, Alexandra is christened “Underwear,” the benevolent Filipina maid, and then there’s the equivalent of a few ching chong jokes for good measure.

The real novelty of this movie for Hong Kong film fans is more likely cheekier turns by Tang and Ng. The two are like wind-up toys let loose, clattering rapidfire insults and curses. They seem to have graduated from the innocent schoolgirl role to the college coed one, a step up one supposes. Still, neither maximize the acting challenge such plots offer, and a weak script is equally at fault. Ng doesn’t carry the sweetheart baggage though and slips more readily in and out of the two parts. But it’s okay, Stephy; nobody’s perfect.


Released: 2008
Prod: Paco Wong 黃柏高
Dir: Patrick Kong 葉念琛
Writer: Patrick Kong 葉念琛
Cast: Stephy Tang 鄧麗欣; Kary Ng 吳雨霏; Sammy Leung 森美; Chelsea Tong 唐素琪; Tin Kai-Man 田啟文; Regan Cheung 張惠雅; Crystal Cheung 張紋嘉; Winky Lai 黎美言; Joey Leung 梁祖堯; Mimi Chu 朱咪咪; Kelvin Kwan 關楚耀; Terence Tsui 小肥; Ken Lo 盧惠光; Ben Cheung 張嘉倫; Angela Au 區文詩; Harriet Yeung 楊詩敏
Time: 105 min
Lang: Cantonese
Country: Hong Kong
Reviewed: 2013