Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mum Jokmok takes on hi-so soaps in Wongkamlao

Petchtai "Mum Jokmok" Wongkamlao gathers a few familiar faces from his past films for his latest directorial effort, Wongkamlao (วงษ์คำเหลา), which spoofs the classic hi-so Thai soap opera Baan Saithong.

With Mum playing the head of a wealthy family, the comedy also stars Apaporn Nakonsawan, who had a memorable role in Mum's first Bodyguard, playing the club-hostess matriarch of a slum family. There's also Mum's sister, Waew Jokmok and Anuwat Tarapan from Yam Yasothon. Add to the mix veteran comedy hand Somlek Sakdikul and plucky character actress Sudarat Butrprom, and there's a pretty strong cast.

The story is set in Wongkamlao Mansion, where the noble-blooded Petcharawuth family resides. The head of the family, Khun Chai (Mum) runs the family jewellery business. Veteran singer Chantana Kitiphan plays Khunying Praewpiras, the family matriarch. His older sister Khun Ying Yai Ploywarin (Weaw Jokmok) is a strict old maid. Younger sister Khun Ying Lek Praewpraow (Apaporn) is noisy and bossy. Junior Paitoon (Chalerm Yamchamang or Lern Mum Show) , the youngest brother, is autistic, while Grandpa Porncharas (Somlek) is a mysterious guy who alway hides hin his secret pavilion.

Conflict arises when a private English tutor Piramon (Akamsiri "Jakkrajan" Suwansuk) is hired to teach Junior, and the sisters are jealous of the teacher's physical attractiveness and popularity.

I've been looking forward to Wongkamlao, hoping it would be as good as Yam Yasothon, in which Mum parodied and paid homage to the rural Thai musical comedies of the 1960s.

The trailer (embedded below) has been playing in cinemas for awhile. While there are highlights -- Mum's singing and Somlek's impeccable comic timing among them -- I was disappointed to find that instead of playing it straight, and letting the satire speak for itself, there's the usual idiotic bleeps, bloops and slide-whistle sound effects that are found on the nightly variety shows, to let people know when to laugh.

I don't recall any of that in Yam Yasothon, or at least not as much of it.

Oh, and there's the screaming transvestite character -- a time-honored tradition in Thai theater -- but the one in Wongkamlao (Orachon Mamchow) seems to be screaming more often and more loudly than ever.

Not much credit is given to the audiences, or to the strength of this comedy, but I am still nonetheless curious to check it out. But only after I've seen Nymph, which opens in Thai cinemas the same day, July 1.

1 comment:

  1. No 'wacky' sound effects in the film itself, thank God, although the screaming transvestite is very annoying.

    Mat.

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