Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Review: Super Hap Sap Sabud (Superstars)


  • Directed by Pisut Praesaeng-Iam
  • Starring Film Rattapoom Tokongsub, Kietisak "Sena Hoy" Udomnak, Noawarat Yuktanund
  • Released in Thai cinemas on December 25, 2008
  • Rating: 2/5

Like its lip-synching protagonist, Super Hap Sab Sabud (Superstars), puts on a good front. It starts off promising, generating plenty of laughs. At first, the characters are endearing. But the longer it goes on, it's apparent that something is not quite right. Probe beneath the surface, and there's nothing of substance there.

It's too bad, because Super Hap might have had a few things to say about the vapidity of pop culture, the price of fame and how wrong it is to deny people opportunities because of their appearance. But it doesn't. Super Hap has about as much cultural value as a Milli Vanilli album.

Film Rattapoom stars as a young man who has skated by his whole life on just his good looks. A stocking-cap-clad hipster, he can dance and choreograph. He's demonstrating his latest creation, "Kung Fu Hiphop", at an audition. But it doesn't go so well - one of his sneakers flies off and hits one of the judges in the face. But worst of all, Film's character Tom has to speak, and it's an atrociously grating high-pitched, hoarse squeak that can barely be understood. And it's devastatingly funny to watch the superstar singer-actor Film carry on in such a way, playing for laughs.

Tom is best friends with Teung, who has just lost his job as a telemarketer. Teung is pretty much the opposite of Tom, being, in the words of another of the film's characters, "short, dark, fat and smelly." But Teung has a great voice and is a talented composer.

In another hilarious opening scene, Teung is at the call center, selling a digital music package. He offers his mark a song called "Touch My Heart", which hasn't even been released. He then sings the infectious bit of sugar-coated pop over the phone with the other call center workers all singing backup. Teung has a hit on his hands, but the bosses aren't buying it.




Tom and Teung have been friends since childhood, and it was Teung who always lurked around behind Tom, providing the voice when Tom "talked" to girls. Tom developed a sense for being able to move his lips to match whatever words would come out of Teung's mouth.

Getting drunk one night to forget their poor fortunes, and with Teung passed out on the bed, Tom makes a webcam video of himself dancing and singing to Teung's unsold hit single. The video becomes a viral sensation.

Tom, without Teung knowing, then submits a CD of the track to a record label. The company is just about bankrupt, and its head, Miss Ngeg (the always reliable character actress Noawarat Yuktanund), is having suicidal thoughts. But she is sure that "Touch My Heart" will save the company. They just need to sign the singer before anyone else.

Because everyone is so desperate - Tom and Teung are out of work and Miss Ngeg's company is on its last legs - they have no choice but to put Tom on stage as a superstar named Tong Lee Hei - his pan-Asian good looks appeal to Korean-pop obsessed Thai teenyboppers - with Teung broadcasting his voice from a secure and undisclosed location.

Once all that is out of the way, the movie devolves into a sloppy, dull mess.



Supporting characters - such as a gang of rotund rapping loansharks and a gay mafia godfather - are good for a few laughs but are quickly forgotten. Other supporting characters who have bigger parts to play seemingly have bits left on the cutting room floor.

Achita Sikkamana plays a fan club webmaster who meets Teung by accident and the pair hit it off, but their relationship goes nowhere. What little dialogue they have together is repetitive and redundant.

Tom, meanwhile, hooks up with the apparently insane goth girl ("Mod" Kunacha Chaiyarat of pop group Four Mod) who works at the record company.

Apaporn Nakhonsawan has a mildly funny role as Lucy Laserjet, the Tata Young-type female pop singer who is the most popular act in the Kingdom. She's jealous of Tom usurping her spotlight, and at an impromptu club appearance, she challenges Tom to a sing-off. Tom manages to get one word out with his squeaky voice, which Lucy hears. But he's then prevented from speaking further by the goth girl, who steps in to give Tom a big kiss. I'm not sure what else her character is supposed to do, why she was insane and why she decided to stop wearing so much black eye makeup.

Film and TV comic Sena Hoy share better chemistry as best friends Tom and Teung, but then they spend most of the movie apart, after Tom finds he has a genuine singing voice and Teung mopes around in a new house that he and Tom supposedly share.

Noawarat, after a strong start for her character, is left with not much to do than nod her head to the beat of the songs Tom is singing for the screaming hordes of teen fans, who at the end of it, are still clueless to the lip-synching charade that is being perpetrated.



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3 comments:

  1. It is quite arrogant to estimate the "cultural value" of a movie in the way the author does. Contrary to the author's opinion, "Super hap" has a lot of substance. It raises questions of justice, of loyalty and of friendship. Is it fair that the good-looking, but untalented boy gets all the success? To what extent is the world ruled by outside appearance or by genuine performance? Who of the two main characters is acting morally? All these questions are treated in this movie in a very entertaining way that really "touches your heart".

    The movie indeed has a tragic moment which all those people who are not good-looking stars will be able to understand: Although Teung writes the good songs, his friend is the one who gets all the fame and success. And Teung is so loyal to him that he supports him all the time and even denies his authorship of the songs.

    "Super hap" is a great movie: funny, deep, tragic and entertaining!

    ReplyDelete
  2. it's a absolutely unforgetable movie ... since I see this movie, I feel it so interested movie ... I love Super Hab (Superstar)

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's a cool movie. I like it !! :D

    ReplyDelete

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