I am also not so familiar with the culture and given that Malaysia advocates the solid reflection of their culture on their films, I sometimes find it hard to related. However, there are films like Sell Out! that make it possible for people like me to understand and appreciate the quirky and beautiful things about Malaysia.
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Rafflesia Pong (Jerrica Lai) thinks she finds what could save her show when one of her guests dies on camera. On the other hand, Eric Tan (Peter Davis) works hard to develop the best Soyamaker Machine but is constantly discouraged by corporate honchos.
There are several things I like about this Malaysian Film.
1) Without alienating the International market, it was able to depict and poke fun at the different quirky aspects of Malaysian culture including the problems people encounter on their daily commute, the superior impression given to Westerners in Malaysia and even the habit of doctors to take advantage of their patients.
2) Malaysian movies are often criticized for being too Bollywood, they like having their character break out into songs in the middle of the movie. This movie didn't shy away from it but it did so shamelessly. Instead of trying to come up with kickass musical numbers, it simply came up with funny ones that added to the comedy of the whole movie.
3) Twist after twist after twist. The best recipe for a really funny comedy is to keep on twisting the story to make even crazier, sillier and intelligently ridiculous. This films successfully did it without forgetting the essence of its message. The characters made seemingly silly decisions that put them into tighter spots. However, if you would actually pull back and really analyze their action, you would realize just how brilliant and logical their decisions are. This allows your to fully "ride" their experience. Instead of resisting the crazy idea, you become excited and go along willingly with the characters.
4) Perfect comedic timing. I am not familiar with the actors. I am not sure if they are comedians. All I know is that the director was able to time their punchlines perfectly. No joke or punchline went to waste. Everything was funny AND essential for the movie to move forward.
5) Local but relatable. It tackled a universal theme - how people in the corporate world become a sell out all in the name of earning a living and figuring out their little place under the sun. That's something everyone can relate. However, it was able to instill local flavor by scattering things that are unique to Malaysian culture via the lines, production design details and acting.
It took me almost a year to discover this gem but it is well worth the wait. It is not the best foreign film I have seen but it is the best Malaysian film I have seen.