Film: 'Lost in Thailand' directed by Xu Zheng
Lost in Thailand
Xu Zheng, Wang Baoqiang, Huang Bo
Director: Xu Zheng
Part film, part social phenomenon, mainland comedian Xu Zheng’s madcap romp has reportedly tickled the funny bones of about 40 million people since it first hit cinemas in December.
And what’s not to love about a tale that follows three guys as they grin and gurn their way from one wild adventure to another?
Thailand again features as the backdrop to a movie that wants its audience to be transported to a place where people just like them find themselves completely out of their depth.
The country has long been the go-to destination for filmmakers looking to add a touch of the exotic – or the bizarre – to their films and while the clichéd depictions of the local people might occasionally leave you grinding your teeth, there’s nothing too nasty here.
The last thing Xu wants is to be taken too seriously, so he collects his characters – adding fellow comedians Wang Baoqiang and Huang Bo to the mix – and keeps the laughs rolling.
The central plot has them all bumbling around after they head to Thailand looking for a temple where they hope to find all their wants and needs sorted. The film very much relies on humour in the Three Stooges tradition – a slap in the face is a face slap no matter the language – with some distinctly local flavours added by the gentle jibes poked at what the director perceives as the modern Chinese man.
The three leads play well off each other, and much of the film’s success can be attributed to their comic skills and their enormous fanbase in the region. Wise casting indeed.
Much has also been made about what the film actually means in terms of the changing wants and needs of the mainland audience.
You can look at its success perhaps as the first sign that mainland film-goers are looking for more than overblown epics. They want to look – and laugh – at themselves and the world that surrounds them. Or they may just want to sit back and giggle.
Extras: interviews with director, actors; behind the scenes featurette; trailer; music video.