Monday, October 13, 2008

Review: E-Tim Tay Nae

  • Directed by "Tom" Yuthlert Sippapak
  • Written by "Nose" Udom Taepanich
  • Starring Udom Taepanich, Asuka, "Cris" Sirin Horwang, Chartchai Ngamsan
  • Released in Thai cinemas on October 9, 2008
  • Rating: 2/5

Like the punches he throws as a boxer in a tourist-trap bar, "Nose" Udom Taepanich's E-Tim Tay Nae is mostly misses, with the hits coming few and far between.

It could have been good, with the celebrated deadpan comedian Nose collaborating for the first time with director Yuthlert Sippapak, who is known for his ability to bring out the funny in a variety of situations. But as a comedy, E-Tim Tay Nae only fitfully humorous. And as a romance, it's not all that attractive. It could be a drama, but then it's not all that dramatic.

E-Tim Tay Nae is about as flat as an overmatched boxer, sprawled on the canvas.

Nose is a sad, deluded loser named Tung who works the tourist trade in the seaside resort of Pattaya. By day, he's a performer in the show at the crocodile farm, sticking his head in the jaws of one of the big toothy reptiles. And by night, he straps on some Velcro boxing gloves and enters the ring in staged matches in a bar on Pattaya's Walking Street.

In between jobs, he's breaking up with girlfriends, though really they are strangers who he walks up to and says they are finished, leaving the girls with perplexed expressions on their faces. Tung is living in a fantasy world, thinking he's a ladies man, a boxer and a great adventurer, when he's none of those things. We're supposed to think he's really a sweet guy, though, because he feeds stray dogs.

Among the people who thinks Tung is sweet is a button-nosed Karen woman (DJ Cris Horwang) who walks around in full hilltribe regalia, selling handicrafts and chewing gum to tourists. But for whatever reason, Tung has never gotten around to making her his girlfriend and breaking up with her. Instead, he hurls racial epithets at her. Why she is always hanging around is a mystery.

The shaggy-dog tale drags along with a handful of sight gags and physical comedy to spark things up. A highlight is Tung putting on such a bad show in the boxing ring that a Westerner tourist complains loudly and challenges Tung to a bout. Only when the guy steps in the ring does it become apparent the loudmouthed farang can more than back up his words -- he's a 7-foot-tall wrestler! (Yes, it's Conan Stevens.)

Another sequence involving Tung being tortured like Daniel Craig's James Bond in Casino Royale turns out to have nothing to do with the story at all. It's a dream sequence and must have been thrown in only because it was used in the trailer.

Finally, after about 30 minutes, the big-eyed female Japanese tourist Itemi (Asuka) sashays in with her boots and short dress and sits down to watch a match in Tung's bar. Tung is energized, and he "wins" his "fight". Somehow this guy bumbles his way into meeting Itemi over a bowl of noodles. Next thing you know, he's signing a karaoke love song to her in a sushi bar. There's a musical sequence in which he squires her around Pattaya on the back of his mini-bike, has her sleeping over in his waterfront shanty and cooking her breakfast. Never mind that they can't really communicate with each other.

Tung's reverie doesn't last long. He takes Itemi - or E-Tim as it's pronounced by Tung - to see a real boxing match by his hero, Sky Thunder (Tears of the Black Tiger's Chartchai Ngamsan, looking buff). He then introduces Itemi to the champ, who it turns out speaks fluent Japanese.

Tung is soon beaten, bloodied, bruised, betrayed and heartbroken. A challenge between Tung and Sky Thunder is set, with Tung undergoing a unique training regimine under the tutelage of a farang bar owner who whips Tung into shape by playing badminton.

But this is no Rocky. There's no beef. And instead of the chocolate-sauce blood of Raging Bull, the odd ingredient here is pungent durian, which plays a deciding factor in the fight.

The winner is a loser, and so are the women in this movie. They are just pretty objects for Tung's impassive mug to moon over. The soi dogs and gape-mouthed crocodiles get better treatment.

1 comment:

  1. Hi I really wanted to see this film.
    But I cannot find it with English subtitles.

    Do you know where I can hold of a copy WITH English subtitles?


Please, no questions or comments about where to download movies or subtitle files.

Please read the FAQ about Thai films on DVD before asking about where to find a Thai movie on DVD with English subtitles.

Make your comments pertinent to the post you are commenting on. For off-topic comments, general observations or news tips, consider sending an e-mail to me at wisekwai [ a t ] g m a i l [d o t ] c o m.

All comments are moderated. Spam comments will be deleted.