- RatedR21 /GenreComedy
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‘Rubbers’ sound like the title of a gonzo porn movie.
That is not the case at all here, of course, and it rather fails at being erotica.
‘Rubbers’ is a refreshingly real sex comedy sure to be a cult favourite with many.
What makes the movie stand out is its astute observations of sex and love (or lack thereof) in the Singapore context, albeit played up in comical and bawdy fashion.
No stranger to screwball comedies, Singapore filmmaker Han Yew Kwang (‘When Hainan Meets Teochew’) casts his eye on packets of contraceptives to drive his latest oeuvre: a lewd and laugh-out-loud collection of three distinct stories based around prophylactics.
Written and directed by Han, ‘Rubbers’ intercuts the stories of four different people – a sex-starved woman, a sex-addicted lothario and an elderly couple.
Oon Shu Ann as adult movie actress Kawaii Momoko
Alaric Tay plays Adam, a self-styled Don Juan who finally gets his due when a partner walks out mid-coitus after discovering that he did not wear protection. Later, he is transported into a bizarre dream that features his genitals, a porn star (Oon Shu Ann) and a dodgy doctor (played by the director).
Another story revolves around Baoling, played by Golden Horse Award-winner Yeo Yann Yann, who is a lonely and very desperate condom critic. She goes home one day to be confronted by a walking, talking durian condom (played by Lee Chaun Min) who convinces her to use it before the use-by date pass the next day.
The plumber she calls in the hopes of getting some nooky turns out to be Julian Hee’s Thor (with a name like that, she better get some); but her attempts at turning on her charms to get her pipes cleaned falls hilariously short.
The odd story among this ribald omnibus is the elderly couples’. Long suspecting of her husband’s infidelity, Hua (Catherine Sng) is thinking of divorcing Niu (Marcus Chin). But a dildo (don’t ask) and a plastic bag full of condoms inspire memories – both fond and unhappy, which makes for a bittersweet tale.
Lee Chau Min's durian condom and Julian Hee as Thor
Among the characters, Yeo is a hoot to watch. Throwing all her inhibitions out the door, the actress makes the picture, winning most of the laughs with her expert timing, quirky delivery, and general go-for-broke abandon.
Tay and Oon have an interesting, if not hilarious chemistry as the playboy who has an adult actress as his worst nightmare. The pair sportingly carries most of film’s raunchier content while also sneaking in some physical comedy.
Han’s script is loose and improvisatory, and genuinely clever in a few places, allowing Tay and Oon (as well as Yeo and Hee) ample room to bumble around amusingly.
Like a nervous first-timer, ‘Rubbers’ tries a bit too hard to please, and consequently, the film’s pseudo-naughty tone end up being mostly shallow, and filled with slapstick humour.
Nonetheless, the film’s daring content is a breath of fresh air in straight-laced Singapore.
‘Rubbers’ open 30 April 2015