- Directed by Rerkchai Paungpetch and Noppadon Arkard
- Starring Ramita Mahapruekhong, Pakorn Chatborirak, Anek Intachan, Phongchak Phitsathanphon
- Released in Thai cinemas on December 25, 2013; rated 15+
- Wise Kwai's rating: 2/5
To me, “Gypso” Ramita Mahapruekhong is Thailand’s most annoying actress, which puts her high in the running for most annoying actress in the world.
I don’t know what it is about her that rubs me the wrong way. She’s talented, funny and pretty. Maybe it’s because she’s always been cast in atrocious movies.
Which brings me to Fud Jung To (ฟัดจังโตะ), in which she plays a super-annoying girlfriend who is forced to take a trip to Japan with her super-insensitive prick of an ex-boyfriend.
It’s a contrived plot to be sure, but then aren’t all romantic comedies contrived? However, “Fud Jung To” takes forced situations to new heights of ridiculousness.
The latest effort by studio M-Thirtynine and director Rerkchai Paungpetch, “Fud Jung To” is another of their year-end comedies. It’s something they’ve been doing for several years now. All have been nonsensical yukfests with mostly incomprehensible plots. Most of the titles have been untranslatable. I asked a Thai colleague to explain this one, and she says Fud Jung To has no meaning at all.
Yet despite all the nonsense, the movies have been crazily popular. So they keep making them. Fud Jung To debuted on Christmas Day, and a late-night screening this week at a suburban Bangkok multiplex was still pulling in a fair-sized crowd. According to the box-office figures as of New Year’s Day, it’s earned a not-so-shabby Bt31.67 million.
Gypso is a young product presenter named Gabs who is obsessed with buying bottled tea. She’s hoping the next cap she unscrews will be the one that wins her a trip to Japan. Gabs is not someone you’d want to be queued up behind at the 7-Eleven, because she’ll have an armload of bottled teas, which will lead the clerk to mentioning a promotion on the stuff to entice her to buy even more. But this only causes Gabs to be indecisive and take up even more time in line. Being one of her friends isn’t so hot either. Ask her to buy you a juice or cola, you’ll get a green tea instead. And you’ll have to surrender the bottle cap.
Gabs has gone to such a length to score that winning cap, she has even landed a boyfriend who works at the tea company and whose job it is to design those caps.
Seems like there would be a conflict of interest with that relationship, but the real problem is that Gabs’ sweetie Gob has about had it with her roller-coaster emotions, neediness, whining and constant phone calls pestering him about everything. He’s played by “Boy” Pakorn Chatborirak, who’s wonderfully deadpan in his reactions but also comes across as a jerk.
Really, it’s hard to sympathize with either of these characters. They are constantly at each other’s throats, slapping each other’s faces, kicking each other’s behinds, strangling each other and then kissing.
He breaks up with her in a little Japanese restaurant in a shopping mall, possibly in hopes that the public venue would keep Gabs from going nuts. And she doesn’t go nuts – she goes absolutely berserk, bawling and screaming at the top of her lungs, running down the up escalator and drawing a huge crowd of dumbfounded onlookers.
Gabs’ emotions then rocket back up into the stratosphere when she hears she’s won that trip to Japan, but her joy is immediately tempered when she learns that she must take the trip with the person she named in her entry – her ex-boyfriend Gob.
So the two ex-lovers are forced to travel together. Their shared futon becomes a wrestling mat as the bickering twosome grapples for superiority.
To heighten the contrived situation, the pair are also compelled to don various Japanese outfits, ranging from traditional wedding garb to school uniforms and finally bizarre cosplay getups.
They have to wear the costumes because they are being recorded by hidden cameras for a promotional short film. At least that’s what they’re told by their tour guide, a bespectacled young geek named Guide (Phongchak Phitsathanphon), who is accompanied by his oddball father (comedian Anek Intachan, a regular in these M-Thirtynine year-end movies).
To be fair, for the first hour, Fud Jung To clicks along entertainingly, in spite of its contrivances. Perhaps sensing that audiences are starting to grow weary, Rerkchai dispenses with some of the sloppiness of his previous efforts. He sticks closer to a script. Also, there’s no sign of cherubic funnyman Charoenporn “Kotee” Onlamai, who’s been in Rerkchai’s previous films. Also, Rerkchai is assisted by a co-director, Noppadon Arkard.
As the slaps, kicks, punches and bites pile on, the effect is numbing. The laugh-a-minute pace slows to a dull, quiet crawl.
A twist is introduced, clumsily. It might have been more effective if it hadn’t already been revealed in the trailers and synopses. So much of the suspense is killed because the bored audience is wondering when that twist is going to show up. And when it does, it’s underwhelming, because, after all, it’s just Gypso again, only with a different hairstyle and different clothes, but she’s still caught in the same nonsensical movie.
(Cross-published in The Nation)