True | Chicago Reader


Three young Korean-Americans grapple with their cultural identity in this 1999 comedy by Jay Koh. Bobby, the adopted son of a Nebraska family, wants to be an actor but faces racial typecasting; Jamie, a diligent grocer, dropped out of law school after his parents were murdered in their convenience store; and Amy, a sophisticated young woman who wants to be a writer, chafes against her traditional mother, who wants to find her a Microsoft millionaire for a husband. The leads' energy and sincerity manage to animate the film's cliched vision of the Asian-American experience, but the plot that brings them together is thin and contrived. Koh never quite knows how or when to end a scene, and he tends to give his characters stock speeches rather than telling dialogue. He also compromises the film's realism by relegating non-Asians to the background, though some of the funnier moments involve a fellow who's one-sixteenth Cantonese but takes it upon himself to teach Bobby the ways of the East. Also on the program is Julie G. Cho's Bubblehead, a visually arresting short about a suburban kindergarten boy whose boomer parents are too busy to pay him any attention.

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