With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Well Go USA
Lost in Thailand / Ren zai jiong tu: Tai jiong
Directed by Xu Zheng
China, 2012, 105 minutes
In Mandarin with available English subtitles

Lost in Thailand is a road-movie comedy from Mainland China that was recently released in North America on Blu-ray, DVD and digital (video-on-demand, electronic sell-through and streaming) by Well Go USA. This review is based on watching the Blu-ray version.

Xu Lang (Xu Zheng, who in addition to making his directorial debut also contributed to the script) has been working on a super petroleum enhancer for four years. His single-minded attention to the project has born fruit, but at great personal cost. He has repeatedly failed to keep his promises to his young daughter and his wife has decided to file for divorce.

Xu Lang wants to continue developing the formula because he knows it is not yet perfected, but another executive, Gao Bo (Huang Bo), wants to cash in on it immediately. For either one to implement his plan, their boss's power-of-attorney is necessary. Unfortunately he's in Thailand meditating, so a race is on to see who can get to him first.

Wang (left) taking a selifie, and Xu Lang

Xu Lang's efforts are undermined by his encounter with Wang (Wang Baoqiang) on the flight to Thailand. Wang is happy-go-lucky and not particularly bright, to say the least. If he was in a Chinese version of Dumb and Dumber, his character would probably be "Dumbest."

Lost in Thailand was a huge hit in China, that country's highest grossing film in fact. It's a follow up to Lost on Journey (2010), which also starred Xu Zheng and Wang Baoqiang. And while Lost in Thailand is billed as China's answer to The Hangover,  I personally found it more like The Hangover Part II. Both are set in Thailand and both are not really all that funny.

Oh, and both have sequences involving Thailand's well-known ladyboys. Lost in Thailand's, it should be noted, is much lamer: no full (or even partial) frontal ladyboy nudity, of course, just a pair of ladyboys bouncing on the bed in the hotel room of their white customer. Not very funny, even with one of the lead actors trapped underneath the mattress.

Xu Lang (left) and Gao Bo

And Xu Lang repeatedly uses Wang for his own purposes, then discards him, only to find that he needs him again. And again, and again. Just not very funny at all after awhile.

Bonus features on the discs include a "Making of" feature (16:25) and the film's trailer.

ACF Rating: 2 out of 4 stars. Lost in Thailand is a mildly amusing film that just didn't deliver anywhere near the laughs I'd expected and hoped for. Of course, humor and comedy are highly subjective, so I'm providing links to a number of other reviews that exhibit a range of responses.

Other reviews of Lost in Thailand:
Roger Ebert
Rotten Tomato reviews
Nicolas Rapold, NY Times
Mark Olsen, Los Angles Times