I’ve recently spent a lot of time on airplanes hopping between Silicon Valley and Hong Kong. With that, I’ve come to the realization that airlines need to have more variety in their in-flight entertainment, because I’ve just about exhausted the available movies on a certain Hong Kong flag carrier. So much so, that I’ve watched iGirl multiple times already.
Kam Ka-wai makes his directorial debut with this romantic comedy about robot girlfriends, starring internet celebrity Chrissie Chau, the stunningly beautiful Connie Man (of Flirting in the Air and Lan Kwai Fong fame), and Joyce Cheng as a robot girlfriends perfectly made for recently-dumped trio of Evan (Ekin Cheng), Johnny (Dominic Ho), and Irwin (Lam Tsz-chung).
The film opens with a sympathy-eliciting night in Lan Kwai Fong, where Irwin is dumped after being humiliated by his black-belt girlfriend, Johnny is dumped by his supermodel girlfriend for the wealthy owner of an international model agency, and Evan is dumped by his girlfriend for being “too nice” to everyone. When Evan returns from a night of drowning sorrows in alcohol, a mysterious man follows him back to his flat and hijacks his computer to have him order an “iGirl” — a personalized robot girlfriend. His buddies quickly follow suit and each of them receives an iGirl with the looks and personalities of their dreams.
While the initial story of how the trio tries to teach their robot girlfriends how to become more human is touching and endearing, especially contrasted against the shallowness and materialism of their human ex-girlfriends, the plot quickly declines in quality and turns into a poorly-made sci-fi flick with nonsensical plot elements. Which is a shame, because iGirl had the potential to be a cheerful yet thought-provoking romantic comedy. Unfortunately, I don’t think I would watch this film again outside the captive shell of a Boeing 777. But given how infrequently in-flight entertainment is refreshed, and how frequently I’m flying, I may be watching Connie Man dancing in a nightclub again soon.
iGirl (Mandarin: 梦情人)—Hong Kong. Dialog available in Cantonese or Mandarin Chinese. Directed by Kam Ka-wai. First released March 2016. Running time 1hr 30mins. Starring Chrissie Chau, Connie Man, Joyce Cheng, Ekin Cheng, Dominic Ho, and Lam Tsz-chung.