Reviewed by Adrian Sim
Chinese Title: Shi qi sui de tian kong
Directors: DJ Chen, Chen Yin-Jung
Writing Credits: Rady Fu
Starring: Tony Yang, King Chin, Ji Dada, Jimmy Yang
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Year released: 2004
Runtime: 93 min
The Taiwanese box office hit Formula 17 (banned in Singapore) is a sweet if benign gay romantic comedy featuring swoonsome leads who are sure to melt the hearts of both straight and gay.
Like the saccharine-ladened straight romantic comedies we know of, Formula is really like what its title suggests...formulaic. Boy-meets-boy. Boy-falls-in-love-with-boy. Boy-loses-boy. Boy-wins-boy.
Formula's central story of an unbelievably fashionable but innocent country boy's quest for true love in the city and then, stealing the heart of a renowned playboy is engaging. Most of the credit goes to the fresh-faced Tony Yang who manages the role of Tien with tenderness and wide-eyed innocence. Even if it's hard to imagine true love blossoming in such times, it's even harder not to root for the romantic Tien to succeed.
Although marked by some tired gay caricatures (Tien's gay pals) and strained humour, Formula 17 is nonetheless a gaudy crowd-pleaser and riotous celebration of a gay utopia.