Directed by: Nawapol Thamrongrattanari
Distributed by: GDH
Written by Anna Harrison
When I was in elementary school, every year I looked forward to our cup stacking unit in PE. There was something undeniably fascinating about it, something rhythmically hypnotizing about the distinct sound of the cups suctioning together and coming apart—and it meant you could be lazy without any judgment. Why we had a cup stacking unit I could not tell you, but “Fast & Feel Love” reminded me of those happy days when I would boast about my stacking skills—but though Nawapol Thamrongrattanari’s latest film might be framed as a sports parody (because, let’s be honest, the concept of cup stacking is ridiculous), it quickly reveals itself to be juggling a lot more than that.
Kao (Nat Kitcharit) doesn’t have much going for him except his cup stacking skills (and those, while impressive, are by and large used against small children). His girlfriend, Jay (Urassaya Sperbund), has done everything she can to ensure that Kao has the perfect environment in which to hone his craft: she cooks, cleans, puts money on the table, and bends over backwards to eliminate distractions as Kao practices. Kao, in return, does nothing except obsessively stack, eventually neglecting Jay enough that she dumps him, leaving Kao on his own for the first time in his life.
Stacking is only the framework around which “Fast & Feel Love” is built, purposely chosen because it’s a bit (a lot) ridiculous, but it could have easily been subbed out for any other sport—it simply wouldn’t have been as funny. The real meat and potatoes of the movie, however, comes from the relationship between Kao and Jay, as nearly all actions by the characters are driven in one way or another by this relationship. Underneath the niche sport gloss there is a touching story about learning how to grow up—Kao has just turned 30 and the clock is ticking, both in stacking and real life; Jay, too, feels a ticking clock as she realizes her desire to have children (just not with a man whose emotional maturity resembles a 12-year-old’s). Having defined their lives so much around each other, both Kao and Jay have to grapple with who they are outside of each other—this is more successful for Kao, as Jay’s realization that she wants to be a mother above all else rings a bit shallow and lazy.
“Fast & Feel Love” is a movie that feels as if it’s flying by the seat of its pants, but in a good way. Its title and poster are a play on the “Fast and Furious” franchise (there’s even an ending song reminiscent of “See You Again”), and Thamrongrattanari never misses a chance to throw in a reference to pop culture. There are “Avengers” references and a mention of Kao not liking sand (it’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere), fourth wall breaks where Kao talks to the camera and lines where characters refer to past events as “scenes,” and even an extended sequence involving Kao’s housekeeper, Metal (Anusara Korsamphan, fantastic), that riffs off of “Parasite,” right down to a shot of Metal gently blowing on a peach in slow motion. Some of these more meta moments might come off as obnoxious in other films (and indeed some of the fourth wall breaks seem to come out of nowhere), but “Fast & Feel Love” goes at such breakneck speed and feels so cobbled together—and I don’t mean that as an insult—that it comes off as endearing more than anything else. It’s no great piece of art and could have used another pass in the editing bay to trim it down a bit more, but it’s hard to hate a film that those involved with clearly had such a blast making. Plus, the “Parasite” parody had me in stitches—I’m easy to please, and cup stacking is great.
“Fast & Feel Love” Trailer