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March 18, 2007

Seven Days to Leave My Wife


Torpong Tunkamhang - 2007
A.G. Entertainment 35mm Film

Even the title, Seven Days to Leave my Wife, tips off how the film is going to end. The film is a slight comic rehash of the American comedies from the Fifties, with nods in the direction of Billy Wilder's Seven Year Itch and Frank Tashlin's two films with Jayne Mansfield. The familiar elements have been transposed to contemporary Bangkok. The only aspect that would be new for Western viewers is the presentation of the ethnic Chinese background of some of the Thai characters. The opening scene could be retitled My Big Fat Chinese Wedding.

The film is about a rather non-descript salesman, Yong, who has somehow attracted his extremely attractive co-worker, Pim. How attractive is Pim? Her office wear includes form fitting red dresses cut to show off her legs from the thigh. One Tashlinesque moment shows two men holding small milk cartons, with the white liquid spurting out of their respective straws. There are also a couple of verbal references to Pim's breasts. Yong and Pim make mad, torrid love with each other yet at no time is there any attempt to explain why the tall, gorgeous woman is involved with Yong. The screenplay is so lazy that it demands we accept Pim's explanation to another character that she's in love with Yong. The film shows a guy who is both already married and socially inept, although there is the roundabout suggestion that he is terrific lover.

Pim has given Yong an ultimatum to leave his wife within a week if he wishes to continue their relationship. Yong spends part of the film coming up with schemes to indirectly end his marriage, including having a bogus fortune teller convince his wife that if she does not leave him, Yong will die. Yong also fights off a competitor for Pim’s affections, a tall, rich, and handsome businessman. Of course no fortune teller is needed to predict how this film will end.

In spite of two collaborators on the screenplay, Torpong modest strengths are visual, rather than verbal. As Pim, Benjawan Artner is lovingly photographed, the hem of her red dress fluttering in slow-motion. In addition to the kind of visual gags that recall Tashlin, there is a nice moment when Pim gives Yong her ultimatum, and the wall behind Yong cracks into small pieces. Samapon Piyapongsiri portrays the frustrated Yong. Somlek Sakdikul, the chinless comic fixture in seemingly every other Thai film portrays Yong's less than helpful co-conspirator. Seven Days to Leave my Wife is a harmless piece of fluff worth seeing for the embryonic talents of Torpong, should he have a smarter screenplay to support his eye for the comic.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at March 18, 2007 03:47 AM


What a fine review. It makes me actually interested to see this, but I'd better hurry before it is gone.

Posted by: Curtis at March 20, 2007 05:09 AM