As kids, you argue with your siblings over toys, food, TV shows, etc. There is always some form of jealousy involved in the fight. But in the end, you always make up with them. Especially if mum takes out her rotan. But as you get older, you learn that mum’s rotan is useless against the human ego.
In Thai comedy-drama Brother Of The Year, Chut (Sunny Suwanmethanont) and Jane (Urassaya Sperbund) are a pair of siblings who are often at odds with each other. It’s apparent that their clashing personalities is one of the many problems in their relationship. Chut has a lackadaisical approach to life while Jane is the Type A go-getter.
Through flashbacks, the movie hilariously shows the many squabbles Chut and Jane have as kids. Presently, they’re having another conflict which gets blown out of proportion when Jane starts dating Japanese marketing manager Moji (played by Nickhun, a member of Korean boyband 2PM).
Jane knows through experience her troublesome brother will sabotage her relationship. So she has been trying to keep current boyfriend Moji a secret from her dear brother. But of course, Chut finds out. He gets more upset when he realises that Jane plans to leave Thailand after marrying Moji.
Brother Of The Year has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments – most of them come early, while exploring the animosity between Jane and Chut. You’d think that these two would learn to get along as adults but they can’t even let go of things like using embarrassing childhood nicknames just to shame one another.
Some of the humour in Brother Of The Year does border on slapstick comedy – making it cringe-worthy, with the additional wacky sound effects not helping. But, if you’re familiar with the way Thai comedies typically go, then you’ll recognise these quirks and be entertained anyway.
Plus it helps that Brother Of The Year has a charming lead in the form of Thai heartthrob Suwanmethanont. He seems so natural in the role of troublemaker Chut that you want him to win all those petty fights he starts. As Jane, the stunning Sperbund shoulders the emotional aspect of the film with her endless tears.
Yes, tears. Now, Brother Of The Year is marketed as a romantic comedy film. But as irreconcilable trouble brews between Jane and Chut, the film becomes a family drama about communication breakdown. Chut and Jane are two stubborn people who can’t pick up the phone and just say sorry. As a result, they become like strangers. It’s heartbreaking to watch how Chut bails on Jane when she needs him the most.
As the movie goes to focus on later developments in Jane’s life, its more entertaining rapid-fire comedic moments are replaced by melodrama that (unfortunately) goes on for too long. This uneven pacing does slacken the viewing experience. Maybe director Witthaya Thongyooyong wants to show what happens when siblings ignore each other for too long. But the siblings’ sense of regret over their past actions could have been timed better. If only there was a rotan that could make them forgive, forget and move on.
Still, Brother Of The Year finds a way to surprise its viewers towards the end and that pleasantly makes up for the lag. It goes to show that, when you are family, all it takes is just one simple act of kindness to make up for any terrible experiences in the past.