Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review: Sudkate Salateped

  • Directed by Rergchai Paungpetch
  • Starring Arak Amornsupasiri, Ramida Mahapruekpon, Sudarat Butrprom, Charoenporn Onlamai, Kom Chuanchuen
  • Released in Thai cinemas on December 31, 2010; rated 15+
  • Wise Kwai's rating: 3/5

One of the last Thai movies released in 2010 is one the biggest hits of 2011.

Still in cinemas after nearly two months, the M-Thirtynine romantic comedy Sudkate Salateped (สุดเขต สเลดเป็ด) is a phenomenon with Thai audiences, raking in more than 125 million baht.

It's directed by Rergchai Paungpetch, the hitmaking helmer who made his mark with 2006's Sab Sanit (Noodle Boxer) at RS Films. Now with M-Thirtynine, the breakaway startup by former RS Film producers, Rergchai follows on the success of 2009's year-end comedy cash bonanza 32 Thunwa (32 ธันวา).

Sudkate Salateped (Loser Love) is created from the same formula as his previous hits, which includes a mix of appealing young pop star/actors, veteran comedians and romance.

Here, indie rock musician and actor "Pe" Arak Amornsupasiri is appealingly well-cast as an earnest young indie singer-songwriter. Ped is trying to land a recording contract with the hilariously named C.O.P.Y. Records.

When he walks into the audition, he's inexplicably awestruck, love at first sight, by Mayom ("Yipso" Ramida Mahapruekpon), the rather plain member of a group of backup dancers who are also auditioning.

He then spends the rest of the movie chasing after this weird girl, despite the fact she does all she can – even going on a date with another guy – to give him the message that she's not interested.

But this is a Rergchai Paungpetch movie, so it doesn't have to make sense.

Like a lot of Thai movies, it starts out fun and full of energy but quickly goes downhill.

One of the best bits early on is Ped exchanging rapid-fire banter as he trades his ID with a security guard at the record label. It's one of the those routine moments that you go through daily in Thailand, but the incorrigible Ped puts his own odd spin on it, which makes it enjoyable.

The rest of the film is an eye-glazing 90 minutes or so of folks sitting around, talking about relationships and snapping pictures of each other with their iPhones. It's not bad, but as a grumpy fortysomething white dude, I found it pretty boring. Obviously, it's not a movie made for people like me – it's made for the young Thai audiences who made the movie a hit.

I'll give credit to the supporting cast, which includes "Tukky" Sudarat Butrprom, Charoenporn “Kotee Aramboy” Onlamai and Kom Chuanchuen for helping to keep my interest. These are comedians you see in just about every Thai comedy, but they are all well suited to their roles here and give great performances.

Wearing bowl-cut hair and the clothes of a young woman perhaps half her age, brassy comedienne Tukky – a pint-sized Carol Burnett – is among Mayom's group of back-up dancers. She punctuates things with an odd sniff, like she's allergic to something and has a runny nose.

Gibzy is Tukky's character's name and this little berry of a girl wins a date with a handsome member of a boyband duo, and has the guy fulfill her three wishes, which includes taking her out in public and pretending they are a couple, and going to sing karaoke.

They are interrupted in their karaoke session when a teenybopper fan presses her face up against the glass of their booth, and writes messages to the singer in the fog of her breath. It's "Saipan" Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, making a cute cameo appearance.

Sudket, meanwhile, is wondering how he'll ever land his dream girl. He gets support from his friend and bandmate who is named Under (Kotee, wearing a chimpanzee-like fake beard and hipster clothes). Dear old dad (a restrained Kom, with the long hair and fake grey mustache of an ageing hippie), the owner/deejay of a community radio station, gives fatherly advice.

Kohtee gets a chance to show his talents as a singer, playing the drum-box and singing back-up to Sudket in their musical act.

There's also this strange character, a skinny guy wearing nerd glasses and skinny jeans who's a biker. This gives the movie a chance to comment on Thai trends, specifically the "dek wan" hipster motorbike gangs that race around at night and their "skoi" (biker groupie) girlfriends who wear exhaust-burn marks on their inside right calves with pride.

I don't get what the appeal is about the actress Yipso Ramida, who was featured in 32 Thunwa and portrayed the sight-impaired glasses girl in the travel romance That Sounds Good. Maybe she's nice in person but on the big screen I find her mannerisms annoying and fake, like all the "ab beaw" cute poses teenagers do for their Facebook pages.

There's a music video at the end to liven things up. It's the best part of the movie.

Here's where there's better chemistry between Tukky and Kohtee, finally meeting after speculating about each other the whole movie. It's hate at first sight, and Tukky can't keep her composure as she and Kohtee have a little slapfest.

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1 comment:

  1. you know I've been wondering!

    why do most Thai women look like men? did they had sex change?

    because I see them in movies and they look like mans:/


    any things on Tony Jaa?:)
    or 14 Beloved?

    thanks man:P


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