Mae Bae
Thailand 2001
Directed by Somching Srisupap.

Makala (Mamee Napakpapha Nakprasitte) is a very hot tour guide, but she lives with a really jealous King Cobra that bites at the slightest provocation. Chanachom (Akara Amarttayakul) is a handsome and successful businessman, recently returned from overseas, married with one kid. He is "interested in Thai culture," which means I gather he has an eye for the ladies, and a childhood fear of water that has never gone away. They fall for each other, which as can be plainly seen, is a terrible, terrible idea. Did I mention the jealous cobra?

Makala's childhood wasn't so great -- her mother was the fourth wife of a rich businessman, and the other wives generally behaved like Cinderella's stepsisters. So I suppose fooling around with already married men is probably not so much of a hang up with her. She also has no problem with living with a killer snake. "Hey, I'm changing, go away! I'll beat you to death one day," she tells the snake, teasingly, and it slithers off.

Although she had a pretty messed up childhood, she lives in a mansion now and has a travel agency named after her, so it doesn't seem like she is under much hardship. Chanachom also has everything going for him, so the idea that they are somehow star-crossed lovers is a bit hard to take seriously.

Really the most interesting character in the story is the snake. What's his deal? He is a one snake, anti-rape jungle task force. When her friend Supoj tries putting the moves on her, zing! a bite to the leg. "You've got 30 minutes to get to the hospital before it kills you, she helpfully explains. Later, the young girl that lives with her is also saved from a rape, this time the snake biting the rapists so forcefully an eyeball pops out.

And when Chanachom starts putting the moves on, he's got to hightail it out of there or feel the snakes wrath. So why does the snake stay with her? Did the snake help her and her mom when she was little? What is the secret of the serpent? ...I'm sorry, did I fall asleep somewhere during the film and miss the explanation of all this? Well, it's certainly possible, but it looks more like the film actually never explains itself. I sort of expected a revelation at the end, which never materialized.

Slow film about people you can hardly care about, except that they are very easy on the eyes. But a couple steamy love scenes do not make up for the dreadful pacing, plot, and acting. Chanachom's son has little screen time, but is the most sympathetic character. However, inserting a father-son three-legged race into the film was totally gratuitous.

Rating: Not Recommended (Not Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on March 13, 2006.

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