Movie Review: Rubbers

Posted On: April 14, 2015

Is sex a taboo subject? As a sexologist, everybody around me tells me so.

Indeed, my clients who come in to me usually have difficulties in the bedroom. It is often linked to the lack of sexuality education, as well as challenges around sexual communication. If we can’t talk about sex, can we start by laughing about it?

Enter Rubbers.

Rubbers is a sex comedy which will be playing in local cinemas from April 30, 2015. Set in present day Singapore, it is a collection of three short films about sex, love, seduction and punishment. I was very fortunate to catch it last night.

RBS2.1_Baoling and Durian hear something (640x359)Story 1: In the middle of having sex on Valentine’s Day, womaniser Adam Kok (Alaric Tay) is dumped by girlfriend Eve (Gillian Tan) for refusing to use a condom. Unable to get any other girlfriends to come round to slake his desire, Adam fantasises about his favourite AV star, Kawaii Momoko (Oon Shu An).

Story 2: The elderly Hua (Catherine Sng), fed up with husband Niu (Marcus Chin) always visiting a prostitute, Mai Chun (Fiona), in Geylang red-light district, considers divorce. However, she delays her decision after being sold a dildo on a three-day trial by sex-aids salesman Leslie (Cheong Yew Mun).

Story 3: Journalist Bao Ling (Yeo Yann Yann), 40, who’s been man-less for the past six years, comes home and imagines a human Durian Condom (Lee Chau Min) in her flat; begging to be used, as its expiry date is due, the condom urges her to get laid quickly. Bao Ling contacts a “plumber” called Thor (Julian Hee) and waits in readiness.

RBS3.3_Momoko & Adam's delight (640x359)All the characters in the stores are loosely linked to the rubber, otherwise known as the condom, or the use of it. More than the rubber, it is about their sex and love lives – for how can we separately sex with how we feel about it, and the people we have it with?

I was heartened to hear the audience getting and laughing at all the jokes. At one point, my friend who was with me turned to me and ordered me to unfold my arms and enjoy the movie – “You’ve had your arms crossed this entire time!”. Just because I wasn’t laugh-out-loud-per-minute didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the movie, I was 1) working (knowing I had a review to write); 2) a little beyond it all (As a sexologist some things are just no longer that funny); 3) cold (I should have but didn’t bring my usual blanket).

I saw about five out of 600 people there or so leaving the movie. I thought: They have no sense of humor. In reality, they may have wanted to be entertained, but instead probably learned something about themselves that day – they can’t laugh about sex. They were so offended, or disturbed that they had to leave. I felt a bit sad for them.

As a sexologist, I cannot help but pick up a few of the no-nos when it comes to sex:

RBS2.3_Durian watching Thor (640x359)

  • Niu (the uncle) used three condoms (!) all at once during sex with the sex worker. “Double-bagging”, as it is sometimes called, can increase the friction between the condoms during intercourse, making them more likely to rip or tear. You should never use more than one condom at a time. 
  • Momoko ripped out the condom from the packet with her teeth. Don’t use your fingernails or teeth when opening a condom wrapper. It’s very easy to tear the condom inside. If you do tear a condom while opening the wrapper, throw that condom away and get a new one.
  • Durian Condom saying it’s not rape if a condom is used. Sex without consent is true – period. Today detectives, prosecutors and counselors say that rape while wearing a condom no longer unusual. 

The silent-yeahs went out for:

  • Girlfriend Eve insisting on the use of the condom. When Adam persisted in having unprotected sex, she left him high and dry. Now that’s rare! A big cheer for standing up for herself!
  • Journalist Bao Ling stopped herself from raping Thor the plumber.
  • Portrayal of homosexuality (even if to get some laughs)
  • Ending with a strong emphasis on the need for condom use for protection and prevention of pregnancy.

RBS1.1_Ah Hua & Ah Niu @ Breakfast (640x361)I know it’s a movie – and to be taken with a pinch of salt. Filmmaking is a risky business, and to make sure the project recoups, most films cater to the widest possible audience to minimise the risk factors. This is a daring movie. Rubbers has R21 rating.

I enjoyed and like the movie. I really hope this movie does well. Please support the local arts and catch Rubbers at your local cinema.

The past films of filmaker Han Yew Kwang include comedies like 18 Grams of Love 爱情十八克 (2007) and When Hainan Meets Teochew 当海南遇上潮州 (2010). I reviewed his movie When Hainan Meets Teochew previously here.The cast includes Golden Horse Awards Best Supporting Actress Yeo Yann Yann, Julian Hee, Marcus Chin, Catherine Sng and Lee Chau Min.
Trailer here

If you are interested in event bookings or bulk gift vouchers to be given away, please contact ask@18gpictures.com

Note: I have not vested interest or benefit from reviewing this movie other than a pair of tickets for the screening.

Who is Martha?

Dr. Martha Tara Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and relationship coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. She is the author of the books Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, and Orgasmic Yoga. She is also the host of the weekly radio show Eros Evolution on OMTimes Radio. For more, visit www.ErosCoaching.com or email info@eroscoaching.com.

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