2006/Jul/18

No serious discussion of gender politics is to be expected from Yongyuth Thonkongthun's fourth feature, Metrosexual, but at least the film is lubricated by constant giggles as four mean ladies try to determine a good-looking man's sexual orientation. Yongyuth has made his name from directing two films on the squad of gay/transvestite volleyball players called The Iron Ladies. His shift towards the urban phenomenon of cosmeticised men has given him a platform to craft an agreeable gender comedy about how a perfect man is only slightly different from a perfect mo.

Five female news anchors - whose status as celebrity journalists testifies that such a conceit is all about celebrity and nothing to do with journalism - play a gang of gossip-loving chanee, a queer slang for straight women. One of them, Pang (Meesuk Changmeesuk) is getting married to Kong (Tienchai Chaisawat), a handsome, stylish guy whose knowledge about the latest cosmetics and fashions is simply staggering.

Sensing the Sissy Syndrome as Kong seems too nice to be a real man, the four female buddies enlist the help of a senior gay expert Bee (Michael Shaowanasai) in uncovering the truth whether Kong's playing for the other team. Their detective work includes finding the queer tendency in Kong's family line, breaking into his apartment to look for sex toys, and searching for evidence from his years at an all-male boarding school.

The jokes range from cute to racy, and sometimes the film cannily toys with the ultimate fantasy of some women - modern women - who dream of bumping into a perfect guy. Metrosexual tries to give the impression of being a film that promotes unconventional attitudes, though that is largely drowned out by the compulsive need of the actresses to be funny.

The film has the merit of addressing an issue that's hardly been touched before, but I doubt if it will really encourage the closet cases to come out, or to discourage paranoid women not to judge a man from the brand of his eyeliner.

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