Monday, April 20, 2009

Jason watches ALL ABOUT DAD

Well, I finally caught the Cinequest Audience Award Winner (tied with FOR MY FATHER), playing through this April 30th (the run was just extended!) at the Camera 3.

It's a locally made film (undoubtedly that helped it's popularity at Cinequest) about a Vietnamese-American family. A comedy about the impossible journey of raising the perfect family. Mr. Do has raised 4 kids--2 sons and 2 daughters. His daughter Linh is engaged to a kind, wonderful man. Only problem is, he's Buddhist (they're Catholic, and dad won't let her marry anyone hell-bound). Okay, bigger problem, she's afraid to tell dad, so everyone thinks he's Catholic.

Meanwhile his son Ty is just back from his first semester at college, studying biology. Or rather, planning to drop biology and take up filmmaking (methinks this may be obliquely autobiographical?) And again, he's afraid to tell dad. So meanwhile, Ty sneaks off and shoots movies with his old pal Daniel, who has a crush on Ty's other sister Xuan. Xuan is a mostly underused character, sort of the voice of calm reason. Basically the good daughter who's only secret is that she kinda sorta wants to get back into music (she plays guitar).

And finally, while Ty is back he has to share a room with his brother Dinh. They roughhouse like brothers do, and Dinh's secret is that he has a girlfriend. Or maybe just a friend who happens to be a girl. In any case, she's white (unclear whether or not that's worse than being non-Catholic).

Secrets are played off each other with a mix of humor and pathos, and eventually dad learns that he can't make his children grow exactly the way he wants to. In fact, he learns some valuable lessons from an unlikely source--his lazy slob of a neighbor (and to make things worse, he's a Vietnam Vet).

In all, a very fun movie. I'm glad I saw it, I wish I had actually seen it at Cinequest with a bigger, more enthusiastic audience.

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