Formula 17 is a 2004 film which was directed by Chen Yin-jung. It stars Tony Yang, Duncan, King Chin, Dada Ji, Jimmy Yang, and Jason Chang. It is a gay romantic comedy film about Chou T’ien-Tsai, a romantic Taiwanese male who takes a trip to visit an online boyfriend in person for the first time. Finding his internet relationship to not be suitable for his real life, he moves on with his life and rooms with an old time friend of his. The film describes T’ien’s experiences with his loyal roommate and his friends, and a surprising relationship that he develops with the local “Playboy”.
This film was banned in Singapore because it “portrayed homosexuality as normal, and a natural progression of society”.
Naive countryman Chou T’ien-Tsai goes to Taipei to meet an internet friend face-to-face. Being a romantic, and believing in ‘true love’ (he even has a book called Love Is A Kind Of Faith), he is sorely disappointed when his friend suggests they have sex with no love. T’ien instead goes to a bar and runs into his ex-classmate Yu, and in the process meets the ‘Number One Playboy’ Bai Tie Nan, who is notorious for one night stands. T’ien very quickly develops a liking towards Bai.
After the night at the bar and becoming roommates to Yu, T’ien gets a job as a pool attendant, and has a lot of run-ins with Bai, who seems to like T’ien mutually. Scenes with Bai and his psychologist show that Bai has a problem kissing people. After advice to practice kissing a mirror, and then a dummy (both of which fail to help him), he resorts to trying to kiss his longtime friend, but can’t bring himself to do it.
One night, T’ien shows up at Bai’s doorstep and they end up having sex consensually. True to his nature, Bai disappears the next day, leaving his friend to turn up at his house and explain that ‘he hopes you don’t misunderstand’. T’ien is very hurt, and not knowing the entire story about Bai’s intimacy issues he leaves a message that ‘this kind of misunderstanding won’t happen again’.
T’ien prepares to leave his roommate’s dwelling and return to his own home. In the meantime, T’ien’s friends corner Bai, who admits that he hurt the person he loves. After a silent prayer for a second chance, he sees T’ien heading up an escalator. His first attempt to apologise fails, and T’ien literally runs away. He nearly gets run down by a scooter, but Bai intercepts and they make up.
The ending credits also include a short segment on the three supporting cast and their somewhat stereotyped views upon gay fashion.