“The Lost Lotteries” is a seriously slap-shticky farce from Thailand, another version of “We need to get back that LOTTO ticket,” this one co-starring a famous Thai kickboxer.
It’s not all that original, but it’s as screwy as can be, and has a nice Around the World with Netflix taste of Thai life.
Lottery tickets sold by independent ticket sellers, as they are in Spain and other parts of Europe, cockfighting, mafia-run underworld boxing, loan sharks — it’s a world of the very rich and everybody else hustling just to get by. A simple rooftop “dream” moment captures the class divide in Bangkok — shacks mixed with modern tony high-rises of the affluent.
Our teen hero (Wongravee Nateeton) is finishing up high school, dreaming of girls and playing chess, when the lottery ticket-selling tray his mother passed along to him is stolen by gangsters trying to collect Mom’s latest debt.
When the winning numbers are announced, four regular customers come up to collect. All young Tay can do is convince convention model/saleswoman Zoe (Napapa Tantrakul), hotheaded actor Wen (Padung Songsang), cute Beat (Phantira Pipityakorn) and Khung, a failed boxer with bad hair and a big mole that keep him from being a dead ringer for famous Thai kickboxer Somjit Jongjohor to help him recover that tray.
Khung is played by Somjit Jongjohor, so yeah, the movie’s kind of like that.
The “ridiculous and improbable plan” Tay and the others conceive involves breaking into the mob’s fireworks factory, home to after hours cockfights and “no rules” cage fight boxing matches. They will create a series distractions, steal keys and recover the lottery tickets.
Yes, our failed fighter must channel Somjit Jongjohor in the cage long enough for the plan to come together. Maybe this drug-juiced lip balm will help.
Writer-director Prueksa Amaruji keeps this daffy, and just dark enough to have stakes. Because we know that “made man” of the mob Mee (Torpung Kulong) is a dangerous character to cross. And he’s not even Mr. Big.
The picture’s poor pacing spoils some of the fun and there’s a tedious over-reliance on voice-over narration (in Thai with subtitles, or dubbed into English. But Amaruji, who did the “Bikeman” farces, knows his way around a sight gag.
And who would have guessed a Thai fighter could be this good at physical comedy?
“The Lost Lotteries” is never more than a mixed bag, but Jongjohor and Songsang’s mugging lets it punch its way out of that bag every now and then.
Rating: TV-MA, violence, profanity, smoking
Cast: Wongravee Nateeton, Napapa Tantrakul, Padung Songsang, Torpung Kulong, Phantira Pipityakorn and Somjit Jongjohor
Credits: Scripted and directed by Prueksa Amaruji. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:48