Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Don McKellar, Tara Spencer-Nairn, Lindy Booth, Kira Clavell
Director: Soo Lyu
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An average, low-budget B-movie - 2.5 stars
ninjasuperstar | Iowa | 02/24/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I rented this movie only because I think Lindy Booth is cute, and I thought for sure this would be an unwatchable mess of a film. In truth, the movie isn't great, but it's not a disaster, which I hope to convey in the following review.
The premise of the film: A massage parlor owner hires a new manager whose main job is to keep the masseuses from giving "full service," that is, from having sex with clients for larger tips. All of the masseuses are attractive young women: Cindy (played by Kira Clavell) is an immigrant with traveling papers; she risks deportation by working. Lea (played by Lindy Booth) is devoted to her boyfriend, but she lies to him about her job. Betty (Tara Spencer-Nairn) wants to buy her own massage parlor, and so she is rather obsessed with making money. The new manager, Conrad (played by Don McKellar), looks and acts a lot like the young Robert De Niro from Taxi Driver. There's also a scene where he rehearses a confrontation in front of a mirror a la Taxi Driver. He is new to the massage parlor business and seems, initially, working only for the money.
Based on the title and the cover of the DVD, I thought this movie was going to be more degrading towards the female cast, but I was pleasantly surprised. There's no reason to feel sorry for them, because they aren't being exploited. In fact, when the women do feel used, they band together and respond in kind.
The movie works on one level because it doesn't take itself seriously. This isn't a silly Hollywood comedy, rather it has the comedic feel you find more often in independent film. But the plot and script aren't smart, and the film has an unbalanced feel. It wants to tell a subtle, funny story, but it gets bogged down with pointless subplots and some goofy, canned dialogue. There are some great scenes, however, and this is entirely due to good acting. While I write above that some of the dialogue is silly, there are some moments of rather complex exchanges that seem magnificently improvised. I don't want to give them away, but look for the moments when the characters make each other laugh.
The sets and lighting look more like studio rooms than an actual massage parlor. The massage rooms have perfect lighting, Cindy's "house" looks like someone's furnished basement, and the use of the security cameras goes nowhere plot-wise. This B-movie style further unbalances the film.
The good acting could counter the low-budget craft of the film if the story was stronger. But you know how the story is going to end right as it begins. Aside from some moments of interesting dialogue, you've seen this before."
B - Movie
Paul D. Hudson | Sykesville, MD | 01/11/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There wasn't really anything offensive about the movie it was just kind of a low budget canadian production that you can usually see for free on extended digital channels on cable TV. I bought it because I liked a movie that one of the stars was in, the girl in the middle on the cover. She was blond in that movie and played a Tom boy type that played Ice hockey semi-pro. I can't remember the name of that movie but it was better then this one. Her personality really came out in the ice hockey flick, in this one she was non-decript.
If you are looking for good actors this isn't the film. If you are looking for kinky, this isn't it either."
Writer-Director's First and "Last" Feature
Only-A-Child | 07/10/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I'm afraid this one is pretty dreadful, despite several good performances and generally competent acting-for-the-camera direction. It's a first and last attempt by writer-director Soo Lyu. "Rub and Tug" (2002) is one of the unfortunate by-products of Canada's program to promote home-grown film-making. While the program encourages worthwhile efforts like "New Waterford Girl" it opens the door for untalented novices like Lyu who did not have to aggressively pitch this project but was green-lighted without an adequate examination of her script or her credentials.
You don't mind the low budget because the shabby production design, bad lighting, poor audio, and dreary docu-style shot selection is consistent with the subject matter; the workers in Canadian massage parlors. But the dialogue and the plotting doesn't give the actors anything to work with, the editor much to assemble, or a viewer any mental challenge other than suspension of disbelief. When your story is this simplistic the last thing you need is a muddled storytelling technique; even though nothing happens, the movie is hard to follow and point-of-view impossible to pin down.
Don McKellar's performance as Conrad is several notches below his similar characterization in "Exotica". Lindy Booth's Lea is her standard quirky airhead; as always she is likable but here she is little else. Kira Clavell's Cindy is a pleasant surprise, a kind of Asian Shelley Duval. The only other role of any consequence, Tara Spencer-Nairn's street-wise Betty, more than cancels out her excellent performance in "New Waterford Girl". Her shallow performance in "Rub and Tug" should curtail any tendency to seek out other films in which she has appeared; unless you need further confirmation of "Waterford" director Alan Moyle's skill in working with young actors.
You quickly conclude that Lyu's reptilian brain cannot grasp concepts like plot complexity, so the need to insert a lazy and lame "deus ex machina" device toward the end is hardly a surprise. Still it could be worse, the listless story has so little internal logic anyway that the unlikely ending is not as painful as would normally be the case.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child."
Funny, cute, definitively Canadian
M. Xavier | Toronto, Canada | 07/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A genuinely funny film, but in a Canadian way, i.e. you may never laugh out loud during the entire film, but you will always be amused and entertained. No nudity, although the girls are really attractive and are often in various states of undress, but in a natural way (not in a porno way). I appreciated this movie for its believable and genuinely likeable characters - if you're tired of hollywood blockbuster stereotype characters and scripts, this is an entertaining change of pace. Super low-budget, the acting and script carry the film entirely. If you're looking for sex, look elsewhere."