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Uproarious ATM
  By Sorradithep Supachanya / 19 January 2012
 

 

 

ATM, Mez Tharatorns part-screwball, part-slapstick comedy, might not have been the funniest film ever made, but I couldnt remember laughing in the cinema so hard and so loud in a long time. Its success is no accident but a result of careful calculations, a sum of all the parts that work just right.

Its plotdynamic, fast-paced, and outright hilariousis key to its success. When an automated teller machine malfunctions and dispenses extra money, bank employees Sue (Chantawit Thanasewi) and Jib (Preechaya Pongthananikorn) race to reclaim it. As lovers in a company that prohibits employee dating, each promises to resign if the other manages to collect the lost money first. What follows is a circus of fun and farce, redolent of a cross between the Brangelina flick Mr. & Mrs. Smith and the Hollywood classic Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

The films slapstick gags, plentiful and unrestrained, are uniquely plot-driven, which sets itself apart from other comedies that flood the Thai cinema. Its characters find themselves in logically humorous situations doing genuinely funny things, not some silly sketches improvised on the set. For example, after Sue loses his car key, he embarks on a whirlwind misadventure with a guilty bus driver who took the ATMs extra money. Or when accessing the central database is instrumental to reclaiming the money, both Sue and Jib pull up all the tricks in their sleeves to prevent the other from gaining accesshe fakes a ghost in the office and she retaliates by luring him to step on thumbtacks; she gets him held up by the police but he has preemptively changed the computer password.

And as the plot provides the situation, the actors exercise their perfect comedic timings to make the scenes work. Chantawit Thanasewi (Hormone, Hello Stranger) cements his place as a Thai cinemas leading young comedian. Chalermpol Titampornthirawong (My Girl) and Thawat Pornratanaprasert (SuckSeed) may rely a tad bit too much on the physical comedyshocked faces and crooked mouthsbut it surprisingly works. Koraphob Chancharoen (cameo in SuckSeed), with his deadpan face and bigger-than-life character, sends the audience rolling on the floor laughing by playing an unsightly intern pursuing Jibs love. Newcomer Preechaya Pongthananikorn may be the films weakest link as she depends on sound effects more than her expressive big-eye gazes.

 

 

As the film progresses, the audience may be inundated with too many gags and actions. Certain scenes may be unnecessary, like one involving a finger being stuck in a concrete pole or a teenage girl comically escaping her overbearing mother. The romance between Sue and Jib also deserves much more screen time. After all, apart from the introductory segment and the concluding finale, the audience only sees rivalries between the two, not the intimate relationship. After all, it is hard to imagine that a guy would dope and lock up his soon-to-be-bride in a hotel room so that he could stay ahead of her in the game.

But apart from the unconvincing romance, a soft start, and a deflated denouement, the rest of the film is a roller coaster ride of nonstop slapstick gags and uproarious fun, helped by perfect comedic timing of its seasoned actors. With ATM, Mez Tharatorn proves he is an up-and-coming master of comedy, the one to watch.

   

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