Geek gets a day with office crush

REVIEW / ROMANCE

ONE DAY (PG)

132 minutes/Opens tomorrow/3/5 stars

The story: Denchai (Chantavit "Ter" Dhanasevi) is a geeky IT guy who has a crush on his beautiful colleague, Nui (Nittha "Mew" Jirayungyurn). When the company goes on an office trip to Hokkaido, he makes a wish to spend just one day alone with her. When she has an accident on the ski slopes and loses her memory temporarily, he uses the opportunity to get close to her.

There is an almost psychotic intensity to the way Denchai tries to make sure his crush, Nui, is well taken care of in the office.

 

He wakes up early so that he can reserve a parking space for her at work, he quietly tidies up her cubicle at night and he secretly puts files of her favourite songs on her computer so she can listen to them.

His infatuation borders on obsessive stalker levels and viewers are supposed to find his actions sweet and thoughtful.

Much credit must be given to Ter, the actor who plays him, as he is endearing enough to pull it off. He embodies the role with so much earnestness that it is clear he has no intentions beyond simply wanting what is best for the object of his affection.

And this is where the film is most successful - it gets into the psyche of those whom Denchai calls "the invisible ones", without being condescending about it.

All too often, "uncool" characters like him in this type of romance flick are treated like a joke or with scorn, but here is a fleshed-out guy viewers can empathise with. He is all the more believable as he never goes through a makeover, which is atypical of the genre.

It is too bad that writer-director Banjong Pisanthanakun chose to end his film on a melodramatic note, borrowing every trope there is from South Korean tearjerker movies (cue too many flashbacks and a lot of crying).

The acclaimed film-maker, who also made the popular and very funny Hello Stranger (2010) and Pee Mak (2013), has said that he consciously played down the comedic elements here as he wanted to have a go at filming a pure romance.

But while he has set things up for some strong chemistry between the pair here, much of their affair is nothing we have not seen before.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2016, with the headline 'Geek gets a day with office crush'. Print Edition | Subscribe