Saturday, July 29, 2006

Black, White & Yellow?

Instead of a Bollywood flick, I checked out Catfish in Blackbean Sauce this week. I remember the film coming out way back in 2000 but never found a theater indie enough to show it. Seeing as how I don't have cable, the waiting continued until it was brought to my memory again the other day and then to the top of my Netflix cue. That being the case, I absolutely can't hate on Chi Moui Lo's directorial debut. I mean, you've seen mine...

The story centers around Dwayne and his older sister Mai, two Vietnamese kids who were adopted by a black couple. Fast forward 20 years or so to Dwayne proposing to his (black) girlfriend, Mai finding their mother and flying her in from Vietnam, and Dwayne's roommate's transsexual? girlfriend and you can imagine what sort of treat you're in for. All this and somehow, the movie's still not bad. Quite honestly, I think it could have been funnier but maybe that wasn't the goal.

One of the highlights of the film is Sanaa Lathan, who does a great job as the loving, forgiving girlfriend in an interracial relationship. Sound familiar? Mary Alice and Paul Winfield play the parents. Ms. Mary was freaking me out with her light and airy, turn-on-you-in-a-split-second portrayal of the mom but I'm guessing that's how it was written. Also, Mai was played by Lauren Tom of Joy Luck Club fame.

From a writing perspective, Lo did a decent job of showing the estrangement between birth mother and child(ren) and also the insecurity that can plague a short (Asian) guy dating a fine black woman. (No, I am NOT talking about myself here.) Quite personally, I think it's just about time this topic is breached again.

If you're really looking for laughs then you should watch Fakin' Da Funk (1997) which features a bunch of actors, etc. who appearently didn't have anything better to do during the '90s. Including everyone's favorite Asian hoodrat, Dante Basco, "Pops"- John Witherspoon, Duane Martin, Ernie Hudson, Tatyana Ali, Bo Jackson, Tone Loc, Nell Carter, Margaret Cho, and one absolutely cannot forget Ms. Pam Grier.

Besides listening to Margaret Cho talk in a faker-than-fake Chinese accent, other notable moments include: Dante Basco telling Tatyana, "Whatever girl! I'm blacker than you!", John Witherspoon attempting to do Tai Chi on the front lawn of a Compton neighborhood, Duane Jackson pretending that he has a crush on Margaret Cho, and Tone Loc speaking. In fact, the last time I showed some friends the movie they're like, "Why haven't I seen this already?!" The film is perfectly ridiculous and perfectly hilarious. BTW, Dante (who is clearly Filipino) is playing a Chinese boy adopted by a black family which just adds to the ignorance of it all.

1 comment:

MTC said...

I see where your comming from


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