Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review: Cool Gel Attacks (Kradeub)

  • Directed by Jaturong Phonboo
  • Starring Jaturong Phonbbo, Jim Chuanchuen, Nuttapong Chatpong, Patarasaya Kreusuwansiri
  • Released in Thai cinemas on December 2, 2010; rated G
  • Wise Kwai's rating: 3/5

The sci-fi/horror comedy Cool Gel Attacks (กระดึ้, Kradeub) is a blast of entertainingly cartoonish special effects against the backdrop of a typical Thai situation comedy, with all the usual stereotypes, crude humor, wacky sound effects, goofy slapstick and lots of running around and screaming.

Weird blue maggots attached to an asteriod are somehow mutated when they crash-land in a suburban Bangkok village. With a mouthful of sharp teeth, these one-eyed wonder worms are cartoonish and fun. They range in size from that of an egg up to a submarine sandwich. Though one mother worm is as big as a city bus.

Produced by GTH, Cool Gel Attacks is directed by comedian Jaturong "Mokjok" Phonboo. One of the usual suspects in Thai comedy films, he starred in GTH's cute family comedy earlier this year, The Little Comedian, and gives that film's director Witthaya Thongyooyong a cameo as a newspaper delivery man.

Loosely based on a factual incident of a blue substance falling from the sky, it's the story of feuding neighbors who have to put aside their differences and team up if they are going to defeat the worms from space.

Jaturong's character is Teerachai, the patriarch of a clan of pork-bun makers. The steam from his bakery annoys his neighbor Maew (Jim Chuanchuen), who runs an icehouse. The two trade insults over a rickety picket fence.

Nuttapong Chatpong, who's been featured in the comedy segments of GTH's Phobia movies, is the nephew of icehouse owner Maew. He's in a Romeo-and-Juliet romance with "Peak" Patarasaya Kreusuwansiri, the actress from Yuthlert Sippapak's drama The Last Moment, daughter of the steamed-bun maker.

I have to say, I think Peak is better suited for comedies than weepy melodrama.

There's also a lesbian sister at the bakery who's in a hot and heavy romance with one of the icehouse workers.

Later, a group of gangsters show up, and among their number is an effeminate-acting cross-dressing man, just to check off one of the items on the list of things all Thai comedies must have.

The space slugs first attack pet dog and then try to find their way inside the other inhabitants of the village.

The usual running around and screaming ensues. Sight gags include the stock kicks to the groin, pork buns used as padding in a bra and an alien worm trying to enter a man through his anus. Seems a bit strong for a Rated G movie.

It's entertaining enough, but humor-wise I don't think Cool Gel Attacks is trying hard enough. The potential for a cult-hit in the vein of SARS Wars is there, but it doesn't rise above the level of pedestrian Thai comedy, which may limit its appeal to audiences beyond Asia, though genre festivals might seek it out, just for a few laughs.

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