This review is part of our coverage of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
dirty: idiot bin. Miserable Ben. ben hypocrite Most importantly, Ben is our hero.
In Randall Park’s directorial debut, the bold choice is made to give us an almost unlikeable lead character. Justin H. Min, best known for his role in Netflix’s Umbrella Academy and Sundance Player 2022 after yanghe deals with the thorny role head-on shortcomings, making a strong case for future leading man opportunities in the process. His character, Ben, runs a local movie theater in the Bay Area, and deals with the fact that he’s failed to chase his moviemaking dreams by cutting off the people who give their best portrayal.
His girlfriend Miko (Ally Mackie) works at an Asian American film festival and is tired of the constant negativity. So when Miko accepts an internship in New York City and the pair decide to go on a vaguely defined “break,” Ben starts to spin. The movie theater is on shaky ground, his best friend Alice (the dynamic Sherry Cola) is busy with her own endeavors, and all new art sucks, if you ask him. shortcomings It was adapted from a graphic novel by Adrian Tomine, who is also here as a screenwriter.
I admire genre authors: shortcomings Hilarious and witty in places—the opening, which features perfect cameos from (fresh Oscar nominee!) Stephanie Hsu and Ronnie Cheng, brilliantly calls out a 2018 Asian-focused thriller. Ben bemoans the state of art that can allow such capitalist fantasies to be The pinnacle of Asian acting in cinema. Miko points out that he hasn’t taken any major creative swings himself, prompting Ben to immediately respond with a complete defense. It’s a cycle he gets himself into almost constantly throughout the film, even with his best friend, Alice, a lesbian who frequently enlists Ben to stand in as a friend at events with her homophobic family.
The local cinema run by Ben is also filled with many colorful characters, including one brought to life by Jacob Batalon, who takes a keen interest in the Disney machine and the “new” Spider Man movies” (in which he notably appeared as Ned). But when Autumn (the great Taffy Gevinson) is set in the theater wearing a bleached bob he instantly recalls Gwyneth Paltrow in Royal TenenbaumsEveryone is about to lose their minds – including Ben.