sperm

The Sperm (Asujaak)

Thailand (2007) Dir. Taweewat Wantha

Teenager Sutin (Putthipong Sriwat) has two main hobbies – playing rock music and playing with himself. He frequently dreams about a popular model named Lammy (Pimpaporn Leenutapong) whom he gets to meet at an event broadcast on love TV, but thinking it is another dream, Sutin makes a lewd proposition to Lammy, embarrassing himself in the process. After drinking the night away with his band mates, an extremely aroused Sutin finds himself in the streets in front of a poster of Lammy. His deposit is washed away into the street drains but they mysteriously mutate and take to the air, impregnating any woman in sight. The next day women of all ages find themselves pregnant and ready to give birth, with the babies all having Sutin’s face. They grow quickly into an army of little perverts who die after pleasuring themselves but an even bigger problem is soon to appear.

Hopefully you would have surmised that this is a comedy and not a mucky film despite its potentially off putting title. Thai comedies are a unique beast in which the humour is very hit and miss (quite often more miss than hit), largely as it doesn’t always translate too well outside of its native land. Even if bawdy concepts such as this one are fairly universal Thailand (and other Asian countries) has a habit of being a lot more puerile where subtlety would have worked better. Supposedly a satire on modern pop culture and the sexualisation of mainstream commodities The Sperm incorporates a number of genres in its 86 minutes which may bear this out but with some references a little obscure, this ultimately is American Pie Thai style for us westerners

Because Thailand has strict censorship rules towards sexual content this film isn’t as explicit as it could have been so female cleavage is the most you’ll see here to – pardon the choice of word – titillate the audience. However this doesn’t make Sutin any less a crude protagonist. When he’s not flushing his future grandchildren down the toilet, Sutin fronts a rock band who decides to enter a nationwide contest at which Lammy will hand out the prize to the winner. This is motive enough for Sutin at first, until his humiliating TV debut turns it into a damage limitation mission for him. The first meeting between fan and idol took place in a supermarket to promote a new deodorant called Addict with meeting Lammy, the product’s pin-up girl, being the main prize. However they meet again later on and Lammy is more forgiving this time, even giving Sutin her number.

Meanwhile Sutin’s seed has infiltrated the wombs of over four hundred women and swarms of dirty minded Sutin look-a-likes run riot across town, ogling women and wiping themselves out after a moment’s pleasure where their issuance continues to the fertilising mission. Like Sutin these mini clones have a thing for Lammy and give chase when they see her, with the original Sutin playing protector. As we learn a scientist Dr. Satifeung (Somlek Sakdikul) and his daughter (Dollaros Dachapratumwan) were the accidental cause of the mutant sperm coming to life and are forced to rectify this. Unfortunately one the babies spawned by an elderly woman turns into a fifty foot giant and after spotting a poster of Lammy on a billboard goes on the rampage.

No-one is going to deny that the central idea presented here is entirely preposterous even for a comedy so it is just as well that no-one takes it seriously, and credit to the Thais, they are great at not taking things seriously. If you are familiar with Thai comedies you will notice certain facets making their presence felt here, including the almost obligatory transvestite character (in this instance the band’s drummer). A lot of the humour is lost in translation but what does travel works well. The opening scene involves a dream sequence chase at which girls are literally throwing themselves at Sutin and he is forced to side step them and fight them in hilarious fashion. Other sight gags, usually involving the cheeky headed sperm raise a giggle or two but the verbal jokes lack the wit and finesse to elicit the weakest of smiles.

Similarly the special effects are on the cheap side with old fashioned 70’s style laser beams, equipment made out of plastic bottles and dodgy CGI for both the Sutin-headed babies and the green screen work for the giant. But again the film is such a cheeky and irreverent caper that its cheapness actually works in its favour, ensuring that everyone is in on the joke. As alluded to earlier, some of the native pop culture references may not work for international audiences. For instance early on Sutin’s band falls foul of an old man playing a pistol shaped guitar – this was Thai rock legend Kitti “Guitar” Gunn, while later the Guitar God character who makes a cameo during the band competition is another Thai rock star Narongrit Tosa-nga, two names that will no doubt mean little to most of us.

Clearly this isn’t going to be a prestige film so one can’t judge the performances too critically, although Putthipong Sriwat is quite believable as the slacker/tosser Sutin. The only casting issue is the role of Lammy. Pimpaporn Leenutapong is not totally unattractive but is too girl next door plain for the part of a supposed sexual icon, displaying no charisma or physical sizzle. This role should have gone to the alluring Dollaros Dachapratumwan (the scientist’s daughter) who is everything Leenutapong isn’t and then some.

The title alone might cost this film a lot of viewers but if you are in the mood for extremely silly, ribald slacker comedy then The Sperm is the film for you. Film snobs need not apply.

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