Monday, February 28, 2011

สอง - Hello Stranger

Went on an impromptu trip to Bangkok a month ago and while I didn't really have much money on me, I was determined to take home a Thai movie DVD to add to my collection. Others might have thought about bringing home Thai silk, fisherman trousers, miniature Buddhas and other knickknacks, but I had my eye out for an official dvd release with English subtitles of something light like Seasons Change or Fan Chan, maybe even a film festival entry I missed like Love of Siam. It seemed like a sound idea at the time, unfortunately for me, our travel itinerary didn't give me much time to poke around---the Big C which was beside our hotel was closed for renovations and the video stores I happened to walk into at Central World predominantly had Hollywood movies on their shelves. There was a limited number of Thai movies to choose from and most, if not all of them, didn't carry English subs.

I had no choice but to declare my movie excursion a bust. So with only a bag of tamarind and a pair of trousers to show for my trip, I went home to Manila without the elusive DVD. Later, I found out that Thai movies were usually released without subtitles as part of the industry's policy to combat piracy and that I had a better shot at buying the above mentioned flicks as distributed in Hong Kong and Taiwan than hunting them down in their country of origin.

It was a wild goose chase from the start.

To cheer me up, my sisters agreed to do a Thai-movie marathon with me and since they were not in the mood to see another horror flick, and were too queasy to see Meat Grinder despite my prodding, we ended up doing a romantic comedy line-up, which explains this series of posts on Thai movies. 

There were quite a number of films to choose from but we ended up picking Hello Stranger for the following reasons: first, it was Thailand's top grossing film for 2010, so despite having reservations about it being another GTH romcom project, we thought it was worth taking a look at because (from what I heard) it was well received in countries like Singapore and Indonesia. Second, saw the trailer and recognized the actor who played the spooked film projectionist in Coming Soon and the boyfriend fighting off temptation in Hormones, so being somewhat familiar with his looks (ahem! Christian Bautista 0_o) work made it a no-brainer. Third, and this is what really sealed the deal, the movie was co-written and directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun---the person behind the hilarious segments featured in the 4bia and Phobia 2 anthologies. He might have been more known for films like Shutter and Alone, but this writer-director also knew how to tickle his audience's funny bone. So all systems go!

*    *    *

Hello Stranger basically tells the story of two Thai tourists who meet each other while on holiday in South Korea. He's (Chantavit Dhanasevi) a sulky, brokenhearted tourist, who opts to go on a package tour over the Songkran Festival despite having been dumped by his travel-companion/girlfriend, while she's (Nuengtida Sopon) on a personal trip to enjoy the sights as a kdrama enthusiast en route to her friend's wedding. They're strangers in a foreign land but through the force of circumstances, they end up being travel buddies who agree not to tell each other their names so as not to complicate their newfound [yet temporary] friendship. 

If there weren't any tv series here, would there be any tourists?
The two of them spend their time in South Korea together, visiting tourist spots, partying like the natives and living up the kdrama dream. They tease and bicker, share their sorrows and get to know each other that by the end of the trip, they find something resembling love even though they're both afraid to admit it.

There really isn't much to say about the plot of the movie, (for like Bangkok Traffic Love Story,) Hello Stranger runs the course of a typical love story wherein two people meet, fall in love and hurdle whatever personal issues or conflicts that are thrown into the mix. However, what differentiates Hello Stranger from its contemporaries is its specific brand of comedy. It's something that's clearly designed to win over kdrama afficionados (who would automatically be in on the joke), without necessarily throwing off or intimidating random moviegoers.

It has a script that hits the right notes, referencing Korean pop culture with a combined sense of awe and curiosity whilst poking fun at hallyu tropes and icons that hold sway over the region. There's a considerable amount of lampooning  involved and believe me, it'll make you laugh out loud and even stomp your feet at the lengths they went through to achieve this.

Writers Banjong Pisanthanakun and Chantavit Dhanasevi have a knack for putting a spin on cliches, infusing the movie with the kind of humor that's easily cognizable by Southeast Asian viewers. They make use of everything from the language barrier to the local cuisine to create funny scenarios that would put a smile on  the face of not only die-hard kdrama fans but also any hard-nosed viewer.

Shot on location to feature not only scenic spots but usual hangouts to provide a comprehensive view of South Korea, the whole movie plays out like a mini-excursion to a land that people have come to know through various cultural/media exports.

Apart from its stunning production value, the movie can also boast of the undeniable onscreen chemistry of its leads who by default become the viewer's guide/representative in this foreign country. Chantavit Dhanasevi impresses as the snide outsider who brings some mischief and perspective in all the hoopla behind Korean  movies and series while newcomer Nuengtida Sopon exudes the irresistible charm and infectious excitement of a fangirl who's surfing the Korean wave. Their scenes together are both outrageous and surprisingly touching; their interaction with the locals, particularly the elderly, is pure gold and classic comedy.

Perhaps the only complaint that one may find about this movie is that it ran a bit long. Co-produced by a Korean company, it appears that it was somewhat necessary to jam in every tourist spot and scenic location in South Korea into the story---which explains the rather lax and sinuous road that  had the movie clock in at  a whopping 127 minutes. Now despite being an obvious vehicle to promote cross-cultural friendship and tourism, Hello Stranger is something that's easy to recommend to anyone looking for fun, easy viewing; some might bemoan how the movie's ending left viewers hanging but considering how the whole concept behind the project was to reflect how much Korean culture has invaded the consciousness of its viewing public, then the ending of the movie can be interpreted as something in keeping with South Korea's cinematic style and imagery.
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Deal Breakers

If you're one of those who got caught up with the hallyu phenomenon that swept the region in the past decade or one of those still riding high and enjoying the tremendous influx of Korean dramas as a result of the said cultural wave, then, chances are, you've already seen a good sample of the male leads and characters that come with every popular television hit. They've probably made your heart beat faster, turned your knees into jello and brought a smile to your face with every romantic gesture...but how do these dream boys, with their so-called sensitivity and depth as seen on t.v., really fare under close scrutiny?

Well, to follow up on this harebrained-idea of a post that I came up with last  November [but somehow never managed to finish in time for the new year], I've put together this short list of well-loved male kdrama characters, who don't appear to be as desirable or winsome once you take a good, hard look at the big picture. There's certainly a few things here and there that would give pause to any rational-minded girl. Things that would make you stay up at night and wonder about what it was that made you so enamored as to miss out on character flaws so material, that in real life, they would no doubt be considered as deal breakers.

*** WARNING : The rest of this post is full of spoilers. Reader discretion is advised ***

Forgive me for this rather trivial post. I know it's totally uncalled for, especially for those who've come to love their kdrama heroes, but characters in such dramas, more often than not, do come with a number of complications---whether they be Byronic heroes, over-privileged men afflicted with the Peter Pan syndrome, socially maladjusted bigwigs who don't know the real score or emotionally insecure men in dire need of parental love and affection---bottom line is most of them spell trouble. And while I, myself, may have been swayed by an actor's good looks, innate charisma or magnetic performance at one point or another, what I have below is my top ten picks for kdrama heroes that, in hindsight, would have sent any practical, level-headed girl running to the nunnery or else swearing off problematic male archetypes that make up kdrama fodder.
Winter Sonata (2002) - Kang Jun-sang/Lee Min-hyung 

Amnesiac with Rust-colored Hair
Love comes with the onset of winter and melts away slowly as the  love of your life allegedly dies before the season's close.  Just when you thought you've lost him forever, you get to meet his doppelganger---who turns out to be the exact same person, it's just that he has this crazy mother who gave him a new identity and a makeover.

Open Your Eyes: Now, if the idea of having a mother-in-law eager to exact revenge on you on account of your parents doesn't turn you off, then also consider the fact that the man before you is so accident prone that he's hit his head too many times, enough for him to go blind as a bat, shortly after recovering from long-term memory loss.

Rooftop Attic Cat (2003) - Lee Kyung Min

The No-good Leecher
Picture this---you're strapped for cash and this guy lends you money, thinking that you're best friends with the girl that he wants to hook up with. He later incurs some gambling debt and gets into trouble with some loan sharks/gangsters, and suddenly he's shacking up with you in a cramp oktabbang, enjoying free room and board.

The Ugly Truth:  The guy may be a future prosecutor but don't forget the fact that he's immature, unreliable and a total douche. He lies, cheats and steals. Yep, he even steals pennies from that tea canister that his poor "roommate" has hidden in the kitchen cupboard to impress that obnoxious chick that he's been chasing after.

I'm Sorry, I Love You (2004) - Cha Moo Hyuk

Dead Man Walking
An exciting and dangerous encounter with a tall, dark and handsome stranger in the Land Down Under leads to a sad, bitter ordeal as the man in question later shows up eager to take revenge against his mother who allegedly abandoned him.

Final Prognosis: This scruffy dude might clean up nicely but he harbors a deep resentment over his younger brother, who appears to have been given all the love and attention that he's missed out on as a kid. Not only does this man belong to a long line of misinformed revenge-seekers in the kdrama world, he's also a certified goner since he has two bullets in his head. Stay away from this dude, lest you want to find eternal slumber on the lips of a red bottle.

My Name is Kim Sam Soon (2005) - Hyun Jin Heon

Torn Between Two Lovers
A guilt-ridden restaurateur, who's nursing a broken heart and recovering from a series of personal tragedies, contracts a fake relationship with a plus-size employee in need of financial assistance in order to avoid being fixed up by his mother.

Bad Business: For starters, the said love contract could very well be the subject of a sexual harassment suit. Another area of concern would be this guy's inability to let go and move on, channeling his angst and anger on things such as his ex-girlfriend's first name or his pretend girlfriend's ex-boyfriend. Stubborn and possessive, he's one hell of a mess when it comes to relationships---being the type that likes to have one's cake and eat it, too.

Goong/Princess Hours (2006) - Lee Shin

Prince Not-so Charming
A smug and socially inept Crown Prince gets rejected by his long-time girlfriend suddenly agrees to marry a girl from an ordinary family with whom he was betrothed. Sounds like a fairytale scenario but in truth, it's more like a repeat of the drama that happened in the House of Windsor. Throw in some political intrigue and there you have a media circus. 

A Royal Scandal: This sought-after prince has the ability to turn  ordinary, bright and outgoing girls into one giant, pathetic, weepy mess, who at one time or another will attempt to take one's life or starve one's self to death. Don't forget that he's also so isolated and unable to express himself that he talks out loud to a teddy bear...

The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince (2007) - Choi Han Kyul

Clueless Bastard
Cocky, rich kid is sent home to Korea to manage a family-owned coffee shop after prodigiously wasting his grandmother's money abroad. As a marketing strategy, he hires an all-male staff to lure female customers in, totally unaware of the fact that the person he considers his wingman and blood brother is a girl who's only pretending to be a guy in front of him.

Sexually Suspect: It takes a mature, open-minded and progressive person to even consider the possibility of being attracted to the same sex  and to come to the conclusion that love does not discriminate, but this kid isn't earning any points because after all that roughhousing and skinship, there's no reason why he shouldn't be able to distinguish a guy from a girl. 

Strongest Chil Woo (2008) - Kang Chil Woo

The Cosplayer
Low level civil servant by day, masked avenger by night.  Along with his merry band of cosplayers, he protects the weak and dispenses justice on the corrupt, evil men that are left untouched by the system. He's but one of many masked heroes in kdramas of late and  like all of them, he has a compelling reason to take the law into his hands and wear a ridiculous striking outfit.

The Magic Hour Approaches: I know I'm being a tad superficial here but seriously now, don't tell me that the idea of a 17th century Joseon hero clad as Zorro with a matching bullwhip, roaming the streets at night, doesn't have you arriving at a number of unsavory conclusions.

Queen Seonduk (2009) - Bidam

A Charming Psychopath
He's the bastard son of the royal consort and the king's brother, who later grows up to be the disciple of a retired general. Deprived of his mother's love and forever seeking the approval of his mentor, he joins the fight to reinstate a long lost princess to her rightful position, only to fall in love with her and later plot her removal from the throne.

It Runs in the Family: He's an excellent swordsman and an able-bodied fighter, too bad he also inherited his mother's penchant for cruelty and creativity in convincing people to do as they're told. When he was a kid, he poisoned a community of hobos; as a grown-up, he gets to slay his master and commit high treason. 

Boys over Flowers (2009) - Goo Jun-pyo

A Big Bully
Poor, little rich boy in dire need of his mother's attention lashes out by imposing a reign of terror in his prep school. He's lonely, he's misunderstood, doesn't have any other friends aside from his posy of equally over privileged and bored peers, who have nothing better to do than watch his fist do the talking. He's the poster boy for bad boys in need of some tough lovin' and girls can't resist the idea of reforming him.

Beyond Help: He's terrorized members of the student body for years, enough to scare some into attempting suicide and others to seek vengeance no matter what the cost. Forget about the domineering mother, this guy has a long list of enemies awaiting their turn. Furthermore, if the way he gives instructions to his lackeys is indicative of his management skills, you can very well say goodbye to the family fortune.

Prosecutor Princess (2010) - Seo In Woo

Mr. Here, There and Everywhere
A capable and meticulous lawyer, who has a reputation for doing anything to win his client's cause, provides special assistance and attention to a ditzy prosecutor in furtherance of his personal agenda.

Alarm Bells:  Smart, funny and sweet, he's the best friend who can anticipate your every need, one who always comes to the rescue when you're down and out because he's a stalker, you see. He has you investigated and followed 24/7 and he's cooking this elaborate albeit circuitous way to get revenge against your family in the course of clearing his father's name. Surely, there's a better way to beat the statute of limitations; being all rich and influential, he could have taken a safer course, one that didn't involve the possibility of being slapped with a restraining order.

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And that's pretty much all there is to this list. I'm sure there are a number of characters that are arguably more vile or repellent than the ones listed above, but I personally steered clear of the ones that were designed as such. Yes, I know it's a kdrama and that it shouldn't be taken seriously, you can even accuse me of nitpicking but don't you find it rather interesting how a lot of these characters get away with things that would normally be considered unacceptable behavior in a real world setting?

Photo credits: Pretty Boy Power, Korean Drama, The Pink Connection, and Dramabeans.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Second Plague

"And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants."
- Exodus 8:4
Just when I thought that things couldn't get much worse than seeing the month of February come to a close with  still more than half a dozen unfinished blog entries, I get to log into my blogger account to discover that a plague of frogs had descended upon the blogosphere for days, as every  blog post (published or otherwise)  that had images hosted on Imageshack showed the image of a frog frozen in a block of ice. Apparently, the powers that be decided that the domain in which these images were supposed to appear  in must be registered, so off I went to the hosting site to get things fixed, unfortunately, the registration link didn't work.

Good thing when I checked this morning, things were back to normal and so the world was spared from hearing my own rendition of Oh! Let My People Go, which brings me back to my main problem---that of coming up with a decent blog post.

The good news is that I've been able to watch a few dramas that took forever to finish. And I'm not talking about just a few weeks or months, but a matter of years. There are some that I lost interest in and didn't care to finish, some that got buried for one reason or another and others that I simply forgot about with the changing of the seasons. The bad news is that unless I make it a point to write something everyday [which is highly unlikely], it'll be impossible to get everything I've seen in this blog and stay sane and/or gainfully employed. Besides, I don't think I'll be able to come up with anything intelligible anyway, so posts for this blog will have to remain as unpredictable as Kimutaku's next project or as sporadic as Nino's gay pervy antics. As part of my ongoing attempt to stave off the growing number of unfinished dramas that now lay siege on my desk, I'll try to come up with some notes on them just to strike them off my list. Now if only the frogs stuck around a while longer, I'd have a valid excuse to put off working on my draft posts...  
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Read My Lips : 駄目!

It's no secret that I'm a Ninomiya Kazunari fan. I may be perceived as someone who has an Anti-JE stance in terms of general entertainment, but I have loads of goodwill towards this kid. Way before I discovered him to be an unabashed idol---who liked to cop a feel at band members and whose sarcastic remarks [screamed Napoleon complex at the get-go] and laidback attitude could potentially polarize viewers---he already won me over with his hilarious portrayal of a virgin boy in Stand Up and his outstanding work in the film Ao no Hono-o. There's no easy way to say this, but this kid had me fooled. He might look like a hunched gerbil with black gums and an abnormally scrawny torso but I love watching him all the same. He's the exception.

Now before anyone starts to think that I've gone fangirl loco* over this boy, let me get straight to the subject of this post. To make a long story short---I loved the Neener and therefore, I was doomed... doomed to suffer through 2 hours, 10 minutes and 49 seconds (give or take) of the English dubbed version of GANTZ because I was stoked to see it and had nothing else to do, and of course, having the emotional quotient of a toddler, I dove in without fully taking into account the fact that I would be listening in to nerve-grating audio and horrible dialogue. O, woe is me! To have seen what I have seen and have heard incongruous dubbing!

To sub or to dub?

I know it's an age-old dilemma that film buffs and anime lovers alike have debated upon  for years without reaching a satisfying conclusion. Whether the intention is to appeal to a wider audience or to meet the demands of purists and netizens, there are admittedly pros and cons to each side, which is why film production outfits are forced to make a judgment call. Proponents of both schools have come up with reasonable arguments for utilizing either method, but at the end of the day, when all is said and done, film distributors would always render a decision based on profit; taking a huge gamble by giving the viewers the option to either put up with it or skip it. And while it all boils down to personal preferences and the relative exposure  of each individual to foreign films and different cultures, I'm of the opinion that since subtitling and dubbing exist for the purpose of translating materials for an audience that doesn't speak the original language, it should follow that both be as accurate or in keeping with the film's context as possible. Furthermore, it should be unobtrusive to the viewing experience as a whole, or at the very least not be so off-putting as to draw attention away from the film.

Coming into GANTZ, I was already at a bit of a disadvantage. Having read parts of the manga, I already had a preconceived notion of how the story should play out; having watched a number of Asian dramas, I was already used to reading subs and therefore preferred the original version over the "localized" release this time around. But if there's such a thing as bad and  good subtitles, then surely there's also such a thing as good and bad dubbing. Just as subtitles are expected to be clear and concise, the quality of dubbing should also be held at a certain standard. The problem with this version of GANTZ is that the dubbing didn't seem to complement the movie at all, the voices didn't match the characters and most of the lines were delivered either in a stilted manner or a cloyingly cartoonish tone. There's an obvious rift between what you hear and what you see onscreen, it's a dissociation that lasts from start to finish, giving you a feeling that things weren't conveyed properly because the voice actors were less than convincing. It may all sound trivial, given that it's a sci-fi adventure movie, but the English audio certainly worked towards diminishing the fantastical elements of the story, making dialogue-laden scenes free of  action sequences a total buzz kill. Plus, anyone who's seen Ninomiya Kazunari before would no doubt lament missing out on his vocal inflection---there's a world of snark, angst, conceit and self-consciousness in Kurono Kei's character that simply didn't come across in this big screen adaptation. Another issue I had was how the dialogue sounded unnaturally choppy, the sentence construction was awkward at best, particularly during Kanata Hongo's brief, crazy-eyed monologue.

Some may argue that part of the reason why GANTZ turned out to be an utter disappointment was because the script for the film didn't even come close to replicating the graphic violence, wicked humor and plain awesomeness of its source material---to which I say, this argument is not without merit (but I'll save that for another post once the second installment comes out).  Point is, the English dubbed version of this movie pushed it from generic, mindless entertainment to a catastrophically BAD big budget movie, given that it already failed to establish a working story with characters whom you would care about and want to survive should aliens infest the planet. It's a bit too early to say this, but this duology might eventually come down as a prime example of what not to do when making a live-action version of a popular manga series. Still, for those who might want to see this film, take my advice and wait for the official release, don't settle for the English-dubbed version because, trust me, it's absolutely cringe-worthy. 

* loca -- What can I say? I suck at foreign languages. 
Featured movie stills care of nurikocam -
Suggested Reading - To Sub or to Dub: The Challenge of "Translating" Films for Foreign Audiences
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Thursday, February 03, 2011

I must confess that I have a rather ambivalent attitude when it comes to watching Thai films. It's not that I have a particular reason to love them or even have sufficient cause to hate them, it's just that Thai movies are pretty hard to come by in my part of the world and my choices are very much limited to whatever's available for international distribution. Interestingly enough, my foray into Thai cinema started with two Nonzee Nimibutr films---the classic ghost story Nang Nak and the erotic period piece Jan Dara---which made a huge splash in the international scene at the turn of the century. Most of the stuff I've seen after that were  commercial picks or mainstream productions, a few were good but most of them didn't leave much of an impression.

By force of habit, I watch at least two to three Thai films a year. And since the focus of Thai cinema appears to have shifted gears in terms of genres in the last two years, the last batch of movies that I had the  occasion to see turned out to be all romantic comedies. I didn't feel like doing a proper review since there's very little to deconstruct by way of style and substance but given that Bangkok Traffic Love Story, Hello Stranger and A Little Thing Called Love turned out to be three of our Southeast Asian neighbor's top grossers in recent memory, I figured it wouldn't hurt to share my thoughts; pick on parts of the aforementioned movies and be done with it.

Furthermore, given that it's also the month of hearts, this 1-2-3 Thai movie roundup that features an old maid, a jilted lover and an ugly duckling wouldn't seem like such an odd fit. So without further ado, I hereby present to you a capsule review of an urban love story; the first in this line-up being yet another ode to the modern, single woman living in the big city...


In Bangkok Traffic Love Story, thirty year-old Mei Ly (Sirin Horwang) is the last among her friends to remain unattached and unmarried. Devastated over being the only singleton in a bunch of happily married folk, she makes up her mind to address the situation and sets her eyes on a mild-mannered engineer named, Loong (Theeradej Wongpuapan), whom she believes to be the one that destiny has sent to her. But alas, true love doesn't come easy as the object of her affection follows a work schedule that requires him to stay up and work on the Skytrain System when the rest of the world is asleep.

With her work cut out for her, Mei tries to get Loong's attention---planning chance encounters in the train station, staking out that video rental store that he frequents to get porn, even going as far as asking neighborhood hottie, Plern (Ungsumalynn Sirapatsakmetha), for advice in ways to win over this elusive, one of a kind bachelor.

As chick flicks go, Bangkok Traffic Love Story provides a hilarious albeit exaggerated take on how women nowadays are expected to have it all, as Mei juggles the demands of her family and career alongside her quest to win over Loong. Fluffy and formulaic, this movie offers cheap laughs in depicting the plight of a female singleton by hurling Mei into extremely awkward and embarrassing situations, utilizing lowbrow humor to punctuate her helplessness and desperation. Much of what happens in it is typical of its genre---with Mei undergoing one setback after another, with little or no hope of success or indication that she would find the love she's chasing after. As a result, the movie inevitably stumbles and stutters as it shows Mei's path to romance to be more difficult and tiresome than her daily commute around the metro.

Bangkok Traffic Love Story follows a predictable course to a requisite happy ending, impeded by a distended script that fails to tie everything neatly together as evidenced by the rough transition between scenes. It could have greatly benefited from proper editing since the movie sometimes feels like a random compilation of comic sketches and running gags, none of which, unfortunately, made it easier to sit through all 129 minutes of the film.

Like most romantic comedies to come after Ally McBeal and Bridget Jones's Diary, the movie features a female lead that is a trifle quirky and sassy; someone accessible and by all respects a fool for love. The only hitch is that it's been done a hundred times before and worked to the bone that viewers are already way too familiar with the mechanics of the story to the extent of either becoming annoyed at or indifferent to the vagaries of singledom.

It's a sad fact but female characters in such films tend to fall under certain archetypes and when the story is about a single lady nearing the end of her so-called "shelf life", one can very much expect her to be either a lovable klutz who's trying to find her way in life or a fierce dragon lady who's knowledgeable in everything except the matters of the heart. At times you get a slight variation thereof but you can always expect them to eventually get drunk and/or commit a major blunder in the course of the movie, preferably with mascara running down her tear-stained cheeks.

Nevertheless, romantic comedies as a rule aren't entirely judged on the the basis of its story nor its witty script. A lot of it rides on its execution and the ability of its audience to relate to the main character or the situation that s/he is in, which surprisingly, is something that the creators of this movie got right in select scenes.

There's nothing really special or memorable about Mei as a character. She's flighty and unsure, doesn't have a plan in life and gets in a whole lot of trouble. By all respects, this movie could have easily gone down the path of Sophie's Revenge minus the glossy finish but while Bangkok Traffic Love Story may not win any points for originality, it certainly gets credit for showcasing the everyday challenges of a woman who's trying to find  emotional stability in this day and age. Writers Benjamaporn Srabua (Metrosexual), Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit and Adisorn Trisirikasem (Fan chan) might have missed the mark on the comedy but they  were certainly able to create something that genuinely captures the loneliness that a thirty-year old singleton feels. From the diminishing number of friends who can keep you company, to the depressing reality that when your phone rings it's either your boss or your mother calling, to reluctantly competing with young vixens more adept in "the game", to surprise dinners designed to set you up with the son of a family friend---the saving grace of this movie is its ability to tap into the experience of every single woman who's going through life on her own.

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