She is a Man, He is a Woman

1994 Directed by Chan Ho-Sun. Starring Anitia Yuen, Carinia Yau, Leslie Cheung.

REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Fri., Dec. 16, 1994

One of the top-grossing films in Hong Kong this year, this light romantic comedy rises above its clichéd plotting and emerges as a decent time-waster, thanks mainly to swell performances from its three leads. Flavor of the year Anitia Yuen stars as Wing, a poor young girl who is obsessed with the supposedly picture-perfect romance between her favorite pop singer, Rose, and her producer/fiancé, Sam. So, when the pair come through town auditioning for new talent, Wing decides to go, not hoping to get signed but to get a chance to meet her idols. The hitch? The audition is only for male singers. So, of course, she dresses in drag to get in and, by being in the right place at the wrong time, is signed up to be groomed for superstardom. However, once Wing enters into the real lives of Sam and Rose, she finds that their relationship is not exactly as euphoric as their media portrayal and, in their general state of unhappiness, both are drawn towards Wing -- a set-up that leads to plenty of wacky high-jinks. If this scenario sounds less than awe-inspiring, credit the actors for pulling the whole thing off, creating solid characters the audience can care about. Carina Lau is wonderfully bitchy as Rose, while Leslie Cheung, as Sam, finds a solid balance between comedy and drama as he wrestles with his sexual identity, convinced that he's really a homosexual due to his desires and growing love for what he thinks is a man. Yuen continues doing what has made her famous, namely registering childlike innocence and naïveté. Yuen's act, not unlike Tom Hanks, is becoming rather predictable, and perhaps if not aided by top-flight talent like Cheung and Lau, She is a Man, He is a Woman might not have made the grade. For while director Chan Ho-Sun directs with a sure hand and the photography is uncommonly slick for this sort of fluff, it's the performances that make such a movie work. This is easily Yuen's best vehicle since her award-winning turn in last year's C'est La Vie, Mon Cherie, thankfully crossing the line from cute and precocious to charming and involving. Since she's made over 15 movies in this year alone, that's saying quite a bit indeed. Now cut it out Anitia, take a rest, and give us all a break.

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More by Joey O'Bryan
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Oct. 19, 2000

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Aug. 30, 1996


She is a Man, He is a Woman, Chan Ho-Sun, Anitia Yuen, Carinia Yau, Leslie Cheung

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