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Movie Reviews

[NYAFF ’21] ‘The Con-Heartist’ review: Thai rom-com is outrageous fun

Twists and turns in goofy rom-com.

The Con-Heartist has one of the most creatively named titles at the New York Asian Film Festival. The plot is a little more formulaic as it follows the basic romantic comedy structure. Ina’s boyfriend has run out on her and left her in debt. One day, she catches a con artist who is trying to scam her. She thinks of turning him into the police but instead decides to hire him to swindle her ex-boyfriend. Before all is said and done, someone’s heart will also get stolen.

Much like horror, rom-coms do not have to be very original in order to please audiences. In many cases, meeting audience expectations can also be the better way to go. The Con-Heartist hits some very obvious plot points, but it is still able to keep the audience interested. It does this through a combination of outrageous characters and comedy.

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The Con-Heartist employs different types of comedy to keep things fresh. There is slapstick, one liners, and gross out humor. The first two are very effective and the film is filled with some laugh out loud moments. When the movie takes things further it becomes a little much. For a story as filled with as much heart and charm as this one, disgusting jokes do not work.

[NYAFF '21] 'The Con-Heartist' review: Thai rom-com is outrageous fun

The same can be said of the production work. There are some neat cuts and sound effects early in the movie. (In general, the first half hour is very strong.) The issue is The Con-Heartist relies on many of the same tricks for its over two hour runtime. What is at first cute becomes slightly annoying before running the risk of ruining the whole film

Thankfully, The Con-Heartist has two very effective leads. How good a rom-com ends up being depends almost entirely on how much the audience can behind the main couple. For starters, everyone is unbelievably attractive. In a throwback to the romantic comedies of the 1940s and 50s, the entire cast looks too good to actually be real.

It is not just the visceral connection with the audience, however. The stars have great chemistry and everyone watching will be enthralled watching them. Surprisingly, the romantic aspect of The Con-Heartist is downplayed for much of the movie as the con takes center stage. Still, the overblown characters and story make for a great watch.

The New York Asian Film Festival takes place from August 6 – August 22. Screenings are live and online.

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