Thursday, August 12, 2010

Review: Tukky Jao Ying Khai Kob

  • Directed by Pornchai Hongrattanaporn
  • Starring Sudarat Butrprom, Louis Scott
  • Released in Thai cinemas on July 22, 2010; rated G
  • Wise Kwai's rating: 3/5

As a supporting character in many movies and TV shows, comedienne Sudarat "Tukky" Butrprom has stolen plenty of scenes, with her brassy chutzpah more than making up for her short stature. She proves to be a capable leading lady in the fairytale spoof Tukky Jao Ying Khai Kob (ตุ๊กกี้เจ้าหญิงขายกบ, roughly, "Tukky, the frog prince

It's directed by Pornchai Hongrattanaporn, perhaps better known as Mr. Pink, who debuted with his stylistically insane comedy Bangkok Loco (ทวารยังหวานอยู่) for RS Film in 2004 and has since co-directed a pair of Valentines romances for Five Star Production.

With the combination of Tukky and Mr. Pink, I had high hopes for Tukky. And it starts out strong, with the opening credits done in Mr. Pink's trademark style of incorporating objects and kinetic action to spell out the names. Mr. Pink himself appears, as do pictures of the executive producers, Sahamongkol Film International's Somsak Techaratanaprasert and Workpoint Entertainment's Panya Nirankun.

Tukky is a young, princess-obsessed woman who works a stall in a unique and colorful market alley where the vendors dress up like the things they are selling. A woman selling flip-flop sandals has a dress made of them. And the star of the market is a perfume salesgirl (Natalie Davis), who dresses like a Playboy bunny.

Tukky, whose mirror shatters when she asks who is the fairest of them all, sells frogs. She is the frog princess, with a wicker crown and a princess-style dress made out of pa kao mah, the plaid cloth that's worn as a sarong by Northeastern Thai farmers.

Her frogs are huge, fairly believable CGI creations. I half expected her cane-toad-sized amphibian friend to jump up and start singing and dancing "The Michigan Rag" in tribute to the Merrie Melodies short, One Froggy Evening.

But it's a frog-shaped pendant that captures the attention of a group of men dressed in elaborate, if ill-fitting, 18th-century-style military uniforms. And another group of men are after Tukky.

She's spirited away by the old guards, and taken to a tiny, isolated Southeast Asian kingdom on an island shaped like a frog. There, she's informed that she's believed to be the long, lost heir to the throne of Padungravee.

The chief of her palace guard is Louis Scott. He has lopsided haircut that makes him look like a member of a boy band, which indeed he was around 10 years ago when he was a teenager.

But those uniforms! Why don't they fit so well? Looking rather chintzy compared to the other costumes, they look like cast-offs from a high-school production of Cinderella. Maybe that's the intent.

What follows is a fairly typical fish-out-of-water story of the ordinary market vendor being transformed into a woman bred from high society.

She gets the royal treatment. A team of flamboyant transvestite makeup artists are brought in to give her a make over. She is given lessons in horseback riding, wine drinking and ballroom dancing.

A few of the usual faces are present. Kom Chuanchuen plays the bizarre horse master, who's dressed like a zebra and whinnies when he talks. Workpoint contract player Teng Terdterng is the limber ballroom dance teacher.

And Choosak "Nong Chachacha" Iamsuk is a fortuneteller, who knows the secret of the frog pendant and makes a transformation that is one of the twists in the movie.

A band of Padungravee rebels threatens the princess, leading to much running around, screaming, half-hearted action and gunplay and finally a big explosion.

One more twist involving that giant frog comes into play toward the end, with a transformation right out of a fairytale.

Happily ever after? Well, sure, for some I suppose.

The audience was laughing up a storm throughout.

And Tukky Jao Ying Khai Kob was No. 1 at the box office its opening week, besting The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Inception. And at last count had earned more than 63 million baht, so producers are happy.

But I was left disappointed because I made the mistake of hoping Tukky would offer something more magical than what turned out to be a series of the routine Thai-TV skits thrown onto the big screen.

In this case, I kissed a frog and all I got was warts.

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  1. Is there an english subtitle available for this movie? Where can I watch or download it? Thanks?

  2. There are other sites that deal with subtitles, downloads and such. Not this one. Please look elsewhere. Thanks for reading.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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