Chapman To continues with his traditional comedic flair in this Cat-3 film, with smatterings of laughter and vulgarity aplenty…
3D Naked Ambition is the loose sequel to Naked Ambition, Dante Lam’s 2003 film, and this time follow erotic newspaper article writer Wyman Chan (Chapman To) who is slowly becoming unnecessary and subsequently unemployed in the growing internet age. Contenting with girlfriend Cecilia (Candy Yuen) who is a multi-billion dollar romance writer on her tenth book printing. Naked Ambition 3D follows Chan as he and his group of investor friends set about creating their own AV (adult video) in order to get rich off the ‘pervert industry’.
If you’re expecting Vulgaria or To’s similar hits such as SDU or Black Comedy (humorous graphic films of the flesh which he’s carved a niche for recently), then 3D Naked Ambition is neither of these. Instead we are treated to 2 hours of To as he jokes around screen and enacts his boyish fantasies of playing with the best breasts in the business, acting as the submissive Mario Ozawa in filmed AV’s and quickly becoming a star in Hong Kong and Japan through this gender role reversal. To enables women in the film to feel empowered through these AV’s (though how women can feel empowered through porn is just plain weird) as they take the leading role whilst he cries around the bedroom, then off set falls copiously into arguments with girlfriend Cecilia because of his suspected infidelity.
There is no shortage of nudity and love scenes in the film, with F-bombs frequently dropped into the middle of sentence for no reason (perhaps to reinforce this is an ‘adult’ comedy) and actually tearing you away from connecting in some dramatic or emotional moments. As the fetishism grows, you’re treated to more breast and rear shots than regular porn films and it leads us to wonder what 3D Naked Ambition is trying to say here, it’s evidently trying to make a point about the AV and porn industry however trying to outdo what their main selling point is doesn’t seem to be the way to do that.
To continues his exploits as his celebrity star grows, fame smashing through Hong Kong and Japan as the AV alter-ego of ‘Mario Ozawa’ makes his face global. The humiliation of Ozawa through AV is enacted our gratuitously in several funny moments, typecasting traditional AV sets with the school nurses office, the gaudy sci-fi character mix and a superhero action short. Many stars appear throughout including Sandra Ng, Charlene Choi, Wong Jing and Kato Taka; who plays himself in the role of world famous ‘GoldFinger’, master of the female labia and has the ability to seemingly make fruit squirt or flies die from orgasms. One of the more uplifting moments comes from an AV dual in the last act where Louis Koo challenges Ozama in a contest, where the star with the most sales on their latest releases becomes the king of AV whilst the loser has to suck the 30-year old fishy digits of their mentor Kato Taka.
I feel that the main problem with 3D Naked Ambition, is that it tries to hard to replicate something that has been done far too frequently lately in Hong Kong cinema, with more Cat-3 movies consistently surfacing and attempting to become the latest hit or outdo one another. Naked Ambition fails when it suddenly subsists into romance/drama halfway through and instead relies on gratuitous porn shots to cover up for the lack of comedy, with To attempting to carry the film but struggling under the weight with a consistent lack of comedy and far too many spiritual nods and winks to the audience in an attempt to show the cast are also in on the joke and want you to laugh.
I feel like Chapman To summarised it best when he was invited onto the stage before the screening at Udine, his comment to the audience “Watch the movie as it’s fucking funny” getting a bigger laugh than any moment throughout the film. The main star might have thought his own movie is ‘fucking funny’, but with mediocre humour throughout and the audience dwindling to a slow death, I was just fucking bored.