If you don’t say ‘cute’ at least once while watching ‘Cutie Pie’ – congratulations, you have a tenacious heart that isn’t easily swayed by the charms of pretty looking people. The 2022 Thai BL series directed by Aoftion Kittipat Jampa has a ‘barely there’ basic story – a wealthy engaged couple are hiding secrets from each other, so can they make their relationship work without being transparent with each other?
Debutant NuNew Chawarin plays Kuea Keerati, who is still in college and heir to an affluent family. His fiance is successful businessman Lian Kilen Wang (Zee Pruch Panik) and the two were betrothed to each other with the blessings of their parents. While the two seemingly love each other, but Kuea lives a double life, he hides the fact that he sings in a popular club, has a YouTube channel and rides super bikes because he is scared the older, serious Kilen won’t be thrilled by his lifestyle. There’s a parallel silly sub-plot about Kuea’s best-friend Khondiao (Nat Natasitt Uareksit) living with Kilen’s best-friend Hia-Yi (Max Kornthas R).
The series is great to look at visually, the sets are lavish, with brilliant mood-lighting and contrasting colors, add to that a gorgeous looking cast… well, it’s all obviously very pleasing to the eyes. The show has its own original soundtrack and Kuea performs a bunch of songs that are foot-tapping. However, despite an evidently high-budget, it doesn’t seem like they invested in writers, because the plot and character development is pretty poor. There’s a very stereotypical power balance in the relationship of both couples in the series – Kilen and his friend Hia Yi are the older, dominant men, while Kuea and Khondiao are the younger, submissive ones who are scared of their partners. The friendships between the men are way more meaningful than their romantic lives, especially that of Kuea and Khondiao, who look out for each other and candidly honest and hilarious while hanging out.
NuNew Chawarin is absolutely adorable as Kuea, but his character often comes across like a toddler, instead of a grown-up college student. For example, he is completely in awe when he first goes to Kilen’s fancy house, as if he has never set foot in a plush apartment before, even though he is wealthy enough to afford an entire ‘hideout bungalow’ for himself. Remember, he is just an engineering student. What works best for this show is the smooth chemistry between NuNew and Zee Pruch Wang, who are completely at ease onscreen in all their romantic moments. The pair makes temperatures soar with their chemistry and look like childhood sweethearts who are in the ‘can’t keep their hands off each other’ phase.
The first few episodes are interesting, but soon, not a lot happens. Things slow down at the beginning of episode six, with Kuea and his college gang being up to no good and behaving like total kids. It’s in this episode that Max Kornthas R who plays Hia-Yi shows his lack of acting skills and isn’t able to pull his emotional lines off when the spotlight is on him. Nat Natasitt Uareksit also felt a little miscast as Khondiao, the character is a confusing mess – on one hand he is shown as a helpless lost puppy who behaves like a scared little slave around Hia-Yi, but then the writers also want us to believe that he is a Karate pro who can kick butt. Khondiao’s relationship with Hia-Yi feels very half-baked, with a superficial back-story that makes no sense. Then there’s a completely random third couple too, Kuea’s college friend Syn (Yim Pharinyakorn Khansawa) falls in love with classmate Nuea (Tutor Koraphat) who at first tries to pursue Kuea but then shifts attention to Syn. Not complaining about the third couple, because they have a more realistic/healthy/normal relationship growth than everybody else in the series.
The climax was on expected lines, but it was great to see the series promoting marriage equality in the end. Kuea and Kilen lobby for the LGBTQ+ community’s right to get married, it’s something that is rarely seen in Asian shows, despite there being a massive influx of queer themed content.
Watch this series if you are looking for a romantic story with very little plot, and a good-looking couple that gets cosy a lot. Cutie Pie offers a lot of fan-service to BL enthusiasts.
It’s a 6/10 from me. You can stream the series on YouTube.
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Listen to the spoiler-free review of Cutie Pie embedded below