Posted in Reviews

Review: The People I’ve Slept With

The People I’ve Slept With (2009)
directed by Quentin Lee, written by Koji Steven Sakai
starring Karin Anna Cheung (Better Luck Tomorrow), Wilson Cruz (My So Called Life), Archie Kao (CSI), James Shigeta (Flower Drum Song, Die Hard, countless TV episodes), Lynn Chen (in almost every single Asian American film in the past 12 months it would seem)

Let’s get the synopsis out of the way first. Plot A: Angela (Karin Anna Cheung) is a single Asian American female who loves sex but is forced to face the consequences of her promiscuous tendencies when she becomes pregnant. She decides to find out who the father is with one of the candidates being Jefferson (Archie Kao) with whom Angela prefers over the others. Plot B: Angela’s best friend, Gabriel (Wilson Cruz), is a gay man whose casual attitude to relationships also causes him to think about changing his ways when Lawrence (Rane Jameson) breaks up with him.

The movie’s lighthearted tone goes well with the mostly bright and colorful locations. For an indie feature the movie looks very good. The story moves along at a brisk pace with a fair number of chuckle worthy jokes but I admit to only really laughing out loud once courtesy of “Boring but Nice Guy” (Randall Park) who definitely has some memorable comedic moments.  I can imagine others laughing much more frequently than I did.  There are a few more serious moments but they don’t drastically change the overall tone.

I liked the characters but I felt that some of them, particularly the main love interests could’ve been given more screen time to get a better sense of their personalities. What was so special about Lawrence that made Gabriel reassess his lifestyle?  I also wondered what it was about Angela’s personality (besides the sex loving part) that attracted Jefferson.  Granted the latter question does pop up at one point in the movie.  The character of Angela’s father (James Shigeta) who offers some sage advice along with corny one-liners is a refreshing change of pace from the more common stereotypically strict and humourless Asian dads. While I found both Angela & Gabriel completely believable, their banter as bffs wasn’t entirely convincing at times.

The plot and premise may seem predictable and unoriginal at first but there are some genuine surprises in the forms of either a reveal or a cliché event not quite happening in the way you’d expect.  Even if the message of the movie and Angela’s realization are not unexpected, the movie doesn’t deliver one of those all is perfect happy endings. It’s an ending that’s better for the parties involved with the possibility of something better to come when the time is right.

The movie delivers what it advertises.  It’s fun but not shallow.  Those who like romantic comedies will definitely enjoy this flick.  Non-fans of the genre probably won’t be converted by this movie but they should find themselves amused nonetheless.

A screener dvd was generously provided by director Quentin Lee for this review.

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Author:

Longtime fan of East Asian films. Former "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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