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Ja, a beautiful woman has everything a woman is supposed to dream of having; a successful career, a partying lifestyle, and a handsome sweetheart. On her 30th birthday, Ja finds her perfect life changed when her boyfriend wants to halt the relationship. Now, at thirtysomething, Ja accepts a happy single life until Por gets in her life and he's 7 years younger than her .Written by
Fabulous it may not be, but this Thai rom-com has enough winning chemistry between its leads to be a pleasing date movie
'Fabulous 30' is yet another entry by the Thai film industry into the rom-com genre, a foray that arguably began with GMM's 'Bangkok Traffic Love Story' and has continued through their string of recent hits 'Hello Stranger' and 'ATM'. Unlike those movies however, this doesn't come from the GMM studio, which probably explains why it is less slick and less entertaining than any one of the other films.
Certainly its premise is less inspired, drawing as it does on the proverbial fears of single women who have hit the big 30. That lady is Ja (Patchrapa Chaichua), who not only has to deal with her supposed insecurity due to her age, but also from her recent split with a boyfriend of seven years after she finds out that he has no intention of settling down. As formula would have it, she will meet the right one just as she is prepared to give up on love.
Enter Porasit (Ken Phupoom), an engineer by training who has just graduated from university and is about to begin his job on an oil rig in six months time. And oh in case you're wondering, Por just happens to be seven years younger than her (i.e. he is 24 and she is 31 when they meet), which of course turns out to be a sore point in their budding romance even as they fall in love with each other.
Never mind that Por's best friend Zen (Nitit Warayanon) happens to have a crush on Ja, or that Ja's longtime boyfriend Nop (Peter Corp Dyrendal) comes knocking with an plea for them to get back together, this is essentially a love story between a younger man and an older woman and their attendant age complications. There's of course no doubt that by the end, Ja will overcome her dilemma of dating someone younger and follow her heart to say an affirmative yes to Por's constant plea for them to be a couple.
The journey to that established outcome however proves less fulfilling than you would expect it to, chiefly because the trio of screenwriters (Somching Srisupap, Boonpong Panich and Sakila Banyen) keep the story simple to the point of being simplistic. Instead of letting the characters develop along the way, they stick with the same formula throughout- guy and girl share a close intimate moment; guy and girl look like they might get together; girl gets cold feet due to some reminder of their age difference; then guy starts over trying to win her heart again.
Not only does the repetition get tiresome after a while, it also gets bogged down every time by heavy-handed melodrama. Indeed, Srisupap is too keen at every possible turn to let some sappy pop song or soundtrack play in the background as Por gets rejected time and again by Ja. It doesn't help that the pacing of the movie is too slow for its own good, and at slightly over two hours, is clearly stretching the material too thin.
Yet despite its flaws, there is still a sweet appeal to it, thanks to the mostly delightful cast. Kudos to Patchrapa Chaichua, who proves that she is much more than just a pretty face, channelling both her character's joys and insecurities sharply. Next to her, Phupoom comes off as rather blad and wooden, but at least the model and TV star making his first leap into feature film fits the bill as a gentle, playful and slightly less mature adult next to Chaichua. The supporting cast, consisting mainly of Ja's posse of friends, are largely a hoot and make the best of what screen time the film accords to them.
Of course, no rom-com could be possible without chemistry between the leads, and fortunately there is plenty of that between Chaichua and Phupoom. Without that spark between them, this rom-com would most certainly have fallen apart. Rather, they make the best of a middling script and some uneven direction to finally win you over with a message that love is always possible- despite what society may tell you- if you only trust your heart and follow your instincts.
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