Shortcomings Review

Shortcomings Review

Shortcomings Review

A rather clever wink to actor Randall Park’s debut film as a director, Drawbacks, which mostly fails to deliver on its promise.

A young couple, an aspiring filmmaker, Ben (Justin H. Min), and his girlfriend, Miko (Ellie Maki), watch what is a mockery of Crazy Rich Asians at the Bay Area Film Festival.

Ben despises it for being a “garish mainstream rom-com that glorifies a capitalist fantasy.” At the same time, Miko thinks it is a “game changer” that will give aspiring Asian-American directors something “cooler, more artistic.” Or whatever”.

 Drawbacks, alas, isn’t the quiet and artsy movie it is—nor is it the glitzy popcorn bling -a-thon that turned Asians into a worldwide smash.

It’s the kind of standard Sundance-bound dramedy we’ve seen too many times before, albeit with an engaging cast and some sharp bits of commentary on race, identity, and gender, which come courtesy of screenwriter Adrian Tomine. Who adapted his 2007 graphic? A novel of the same title.

In short chapters like Tomin’s comic books, the film follows the snobbish and pretentious Ben as he navigates a dead-end life in Berkeley, where he works at a neighborhood movie theater and the insanely wealthy Miko. K, who, like Ben, is Japanese American.

Although the two have been together for some time, their relationship seems to be at a standstill, so when Miko leaves for an internship in New York, Ben sees this as his moment to go after the woman he fantasizes about.

Doing – as evidenced by the copious amounts of porn Miko finds on her laptop.

Problem than p0rn , but Ben doesn’t want to hear it. He is a born contrarian who refuses to recognize that his caste can be an issue until he is deemed fit to do so.

But mostly, he fails to hear what Miko and her best friend, the eccentric and girl-crazy Alice (Sherri Kola), are both trying to tell him: that the main problem with Ben is Ben.

It’s a familiar premise — the cynically antisocial dude who’ll go through some things and learn a valuable life lesson — and it goes in familiar directions as Ben, now semi-single navigates the Bay Area dating scene before kills an employee ( Tavi Gevinson ) and striking out before hooking up with a girl on the rebound (Debbie Ryan) in a short-lived fling tested again by Ben’s conflicted feelings about race.

Eventually, he ends up in New York, reunites with his best friend Alice, and hopes, more out of desperation than any genuine love or devotion, to perhaps rekindle the flame with Miko.

That Ben isn’t like most boys aren’t the problem here – nobody wants their hero to be two-shoes and a perfect bore.

The problem is the plotting and the overall dullness of the humor, which lacks the bite of some of the comedies Parks has starred in as herself (Fresh Off the Boat, The Interview) and Tomin as a graphic novelist (Summer Blond, Let’s bark at the wonderful output. kill and die), where the characters are often guided by a lonely and desperate longing for identity that can never be fulfilled.

(French director Jacques Ouard successfully adapted many of Tomin’s works in the 2021 drama Paris, the 13th District, which is an altogether darker film.)

Park has put together a strong cast, and Min (The Umbrella Academy, After Yang) plays the lead role well, giving Ben some edge while still keeping him personable.

Maki and Cola are convincing as two women who see Ben quite differently and yet also see through him, while some nice cameos – especially by Veep’s hilarious Timothy Simmons – round out the troupe. Has been for whom we are about to root.

Otherwise, the direction doesn’t have much to distinguish it, and here’s a word to the wise: Among the drawbacks are a few scenes where Ben Truffaut watches classic films by the likes of Ozu and Cassavetes, yearning for their greatness. Is and is even accepting it.

At one point, he is no Eric Romer, to cite another idol of his. The problem is that we, as viewers, can’t help but compare it to what Ben is seeing, making the shortcomings even more obvious.


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