The 2023 Taiwanese film Miss Shampoo really feels like it’s from some other time. It’s not simply goofy but absurd as well. It’s so goofy that it almost borders on being meaningless, but somehow there is a through line to the plot, and the characters exist well within the boundaries the makers crafted for them. Miss Shampoo is that film where if one gets an ‘in’ into the film somehow, there is a healthy chance that one will enjoy it no matter what. But if that doesn’t happen, the film might seem like a sequence of over-the-top scenes that have nothing to say. The film has to be seen as a love story, and underneath the absurd yet sentimental plot there is the groundedness of the archetype of Beauty and the Beast, but as the film is a comedy, they have been bashed around to fit this hyper-goofy dramedy.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
The story begins when Tai, a gangster, is chased by mercenaries from Thailand, and he survives by hiding in Fen’s shop. Fen was working alone in the salon, trying to hone her hairstyling skills, when Tai walked in disheveled. There was no communication between them, but there was an immediate connection, and Fen knew well enough not to reveal his location when the Thai killers came into the shop. This little interaction, where Fen essentially saved Tai’s life, culminated in Tai becoming a better man and Fen becoming a better hairstylist. All the stuff during this process of betterment and love blossoming between the two is just Tai trying to find out who sent the Thai killers to kill his boss Hsing in the most ridiculous manner possible. And before I forget, I would like to add that, embedded in the plot, is the issue of disrespect for baseball and Tai’s erectile dysfunction as well!
How Did Tai Impact Fen’s Life?
Tai was not afraid to die, but when it came to asking Fen out, he couldn’t even muster up the courage to reveal his true feelings. He was smitten with her, but she had a boyfriend. The good thing was that Tai survived and became the boss of Hsing’s gang. As a show of gratitude, Tai started to frequent Fen’s salon, and even though she was just a hair washer, she got the opportunity to style (poorly) the hair of everyone who was remotely connected to Tai. Fen had always wanted to become an accomplished hairdresser, and now she got to practice. Nobody had the audacity to counter Tai’s wishes.
When Tai figured Fen’s boyfriend was cheating on her, he beat him up and got him out of her life. Figuring that Fen was ‘available’ now, he went to her place to introduce himself to her family. He was seriously vying for the position of her boyfriend and had his ways of naive charm to win the heart of the family. And they didn’t want to irk the gangster anyway! Fen, who was sad to lose his boyfriend, was happy to befriend Tai. She offered to sleep with him, but Tai, who had a fixation about his performance in the bedroom, backed out and almost lost her. But thanks to friend and fellow gang member Long Legs’ suggestion, he used German drug patches for vigor and vitality and later went on to win Fen’s heart. He promised he was going to be a one-woman man, even though his gang brought in sex workers daily and he was surrounded by indescribable stuff all day. Fen fell head over heels in love with Tai after this declaration, but it was all ruined by baseball.
Why Did Xuxiang Visit Fen?
Fen loved Tai, but there was one thing she loved more: baseball. Her favorite player was Xuxiang, and her dream was to meet him one day and inform him that his posture was off when he was trying to hit a home run. Xuxiang was connected to Tai, and the day came that he took her to meet her baseball star, Xuxiang, who was not at all what she had imagined in her head. She was disgusted to see him party like an animal. She figured out that Tai didn’t even like baseball and left him at the party. Tai’s whole gang, who had grown fond of Fen, couldn’t understand her behavior, but Xuxiang thought it was his responsibility to take a stand for Tai and express something on his behalf that he probably couldn’t explain himself.
Xuxiang revealed that Tai was the one who saved him one time from a gang who had come to attack him while he was a young kid training to be a baseball player. Surprisingly, Tai was the captain of that team, but he didn’t play all that well. He was more adept at using the baseball bat to hit people who were harming those he loved. He was always going to be a gangster, but there is a love for baseball in him that has been drowned out due to life’s circumstances. Xuxiang credited his success to Tai’s ferocious training in his formative years. Fen understood that Tai was a man with a soft heart and a rock-solid exterior. After all, he had survived three stab wounds from the Thai killers. But his heart couldn’t take Fen’s disdainful look toward him during the party. He lost all his vigor and vitality, and no amount of German drugs could help him.
Why Did Boss Chuan Have Hsing Killed?
There was a gathering of all the mob bosses, and they weren’t able to figure out who would send the Thai killers to kill Hsing. There was only one person who immediately benefited from his death, and it was Tai. He had become the boss and had just been stabbed three times, while Hsing was barely recognizable. Long Legs, Fishy, and Brian, Tai’s closest aides, were searching for clues to figure out who was trying to frame Tai. There was Boss Tung, who ran a chain of hotels and had allowed the Thai killers to book a hotel room for a while. Tai was sure that Tung would never betray Hsing. The others weren’t so sure.
Tai was right, though. It wasn’t Tung who had betrayed Hsing, but Boss Chuan. The elections were coming up, Chuan had taken up the project of urban renewals, and perhaps Hsing was not onboard with the idea. He was a problem that needed to be dealt with, which is why he had hired the mercenaries. They came again to attack Tai, who was managing Hsing’s operations now, and Chuan’s minion was there with them to make it absolutely clear to Tai that Chuan was the traitor. But Tai was in such a melancholic mood after the breakup that he didn’t even want to be the boss. He was willing to surrender all his responsibilities to Long Legs, but was stabbed anyway. His gang arrived, as Long Legs had used his smartwatch to signal for help, and they took care of the Thai mercenaries and ordered Tung to take care of Chuan.
During the ending of Miss Shampoo, Tai expressed his desire to see Fen instead of a doctor. They rode in the special car, which was supposed to have some mystical energy that did not let any boss die. Both Tai and Long Legs survived, and Tai got to see his beloved Fen, who had been let go from the hair salon after her breakup. She too was unhappy after her breakup, but meeting Tai again rejuvenated her passion.