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Formula 17 (Unrated)

Release Date: August 26th, 2005 (NYC-Quad Cinema) by Strand Releasing.
The Cast: Tony Yang, Duncan Lai, Chin King.
Directed by Chen Yin-jung.
In Cantonese and Mandarin with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: Tien (Yang), a 17 year-old virgin searches for true love while living in the big city of Taipei.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Unlike The 40 Year-Old Virgin, this movie is much tamer and, fortunately, doe not use shock value to make you laugh. Although this is a coming-of-age movie, there is very little sexual content and nudity. The humor comes from the very charismatic and energetic characters--particularly Tien's roommate who often makes weird faces and doesn't take everything too seriously. He is a real pleasure to watch and a very effective comic relief. Once Tien meets Bai (Lai), a popular stud, the plot becomes very interesting because they are both characters so different. It is clear from the beginning that Tien is interested in friendship before sex, while Bai is the complete opposite--at least, at first. At times, the plot seems like a soap opera, especially when Bai's past lover-turned-friend shows up. Predictably, Tien immediately goes back home right after that incident. Nonetheless, it is fun to watch as Tien's hilarious roommate and his lively drag-queen friends try to convince Bai to stop him before he is gone for good. The cinematography is very impressive, especially the slow-motion shots of Tien diving in a pool. Along with a nice soundtrack, a fast-pace, and plenty of comic energy, this is a very fun and lively movie to watch.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Opposites don't always attract, but in this movie they do. All it takes is one of them to change for them to be end up together. In this case, Bai is the one who changes. Although the change is slightly contrived, it is also somewhat moving and inspiring. Also, Tai learns how painful love can be out in the real world. Sometimes, you don't know how much you truly love somebody until they end up leaving you. The scene when Tien leaves Bai all by himself is very heartbreaking--and the music also adds to the sadness. Although it is predictable, the ending is sweet, romantic and very uplifting.



THE BOTTOM LINE: A predictable yet lively and surprisingly moving coming-of-age movie. It has plenty of comic energy and an array of charismatic and likeable characters.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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