For the uninitiated, tootsie is a affectionate term used in Thailand for a campy gay guy. And celebrating this without restraint, Line TV created a series based on the online accounts of Thachpacha Setthachai, a proud tootsie who does a Carrie Bradshaw and recalls the many humourous episodes he has with his three best friends – two gay and one lesbian.
Winning over 6 million views, Diary of Tootsies received such popularity that it got another season. So yes, Tootsies & The Fake is indeed a feature film rendition of that Thai series. And yup, it’s more of the same, for better or for worse.
Fake it till you make it is a common philosophy in the West, but in this film, Gus (Paopetch Charoensook) and his friends each comes face-to-face with a situation that calls for some fibbing.
Lesbian Natty (Pattarasaya Kruasuwansiri) wants to win her inheritance over her mother’s cat, but is given the ultimatum that she needs a grandchild for that to happen. Gus bumps into his ex, Top (JJ Kritsanapoom Pibunsonggram), and finds it hard to resist the eligible bachelor, while keeping his own relationship alive against the threat of a bratty niece. But for Tootsies & The Fake, the main arc comes from Golf (Thongchai Thongkuntom) and Kim (Ratthanant Janyajirawong).
Make-up artist Golf gets to meet his idol Cathy (Araya A. Hargate) during a production set, but unwittingly causes her to get a head injury with his sweat – you read right, his sweat. Only in the universe of the tootsies can such extreme gags count as logical, and Kittiphak Thongauam lets it rip with the toilet humour and OTT reactions. Slapstick fans, this one’s for you.
But at the same time, it’s hard to resist the ugly duckling conundrum. As Golf and Kim finds a lookalike to replace the comatose actress in an important TV commercial shoot, the duo struggles to teach grace and etiquette to the crude street hawker replacement. The will-she-or-won’t-she scenario never gets old, especially when the solution comes undone halfway.
Make no mistake about it, Tootsies & The Fake doesn’t pretend to be high-brow fare, and relishes in the formula that made it gold in the first place. Expect extreme reactions (Janyajirawong has this department sold), madcap sequences (Thongkuntom always starts a riot), and some of the best product placement ever featured in a film (Jack Neo needs to learn from Thongauam on this one).
While the back story works better if you have watched the series, the film fills you in enough to not disrupt the plot. However, there are local references that definitely make the title more enjoyable for the Thai, including the 9×9 reference (Pibunsonggram’s old band) and various celebrity cameos such as Ice Paris Intarakomalyasut.
It’s hard to forgive one-dimensional stereotypes and a manic plot, but when the eye-candy characters are refreshingly unabashed and uncensored, and their many attempts to draw out laughter so wholehearted, it’s definitely okay to let out a chuckle. Don’t worry – laugh is laugh, we won’t judge.
This comedy never lets up on the drama. Tootsies & The Fake flies the gay flag high and continues its homegrown legacy full of unique Thai charm.