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An abrasive Japanese guy, and his cousin, go on a road trip to find the woman who left the cousin without notice.
Review (with Spoilers)
It is rather hard to find Asian comedies, or movies starring people of Asian descent period, especially if they aren’t martial arts films. However, Sake Bomb seems to want to make a case for why this shouldn’t be an exception, or shot in the dark, but the first of many. But whether or not this is worth checking out, look below.
Characters & Story
After Tamiko (Samantha Quan) dumps Sebastian (Eugene Kim), he is forced to move in with his father Takanori (Hiroyuki Watanbe). Someone who just so happened to have invited Sebastian’s cousin Naoto (Gaku Hamada) over from Japan since Naoto wants to find a woman he fell in love with. Thing is, Naoto comes from a place where no one really has cell phones, the internet, or computers. So all he has is the name of the woman, Olivia (Jenn Liu), and her address.
Thus leading Sebastian, due to his father’s coercion, taking Naoto down to Petaluma, CA to go find the girl of his dreams.
Something I liked about this film is how much Sebastian approaches racism against Asian people in the movie, and even confronts internal issues within the culture. However, don’t think of Sebastian as some sort of social justice warrior for he can be problematic himself. For example, he sort of has a white girl fetish it seems, yet damns Asian women, in the film, for dating White men.
Focusing on the road trip, and main part of the story, the key things worth noting is how the meeting of Olivia is handled, what the character Joslyn (Marlane Barnes) represents when it comes to interracial relations, and also a situation in which Sebastian pretends to be a stereotypical Asian person to get out of a situation with a cop. All of which touches on various issues which bring some sort of interest and also bring a handful of laughs. Not enough to call this movie funny, but nonetheless you will chuckle every now and then.
When the film first began, I was thinking it was going to be something like Dear White People, in condensed form, and Sebastian would be a sort of militant guy confronting issues within Asian culture. However, instead it is like a list of issues was written up and, while many of them get jokes which can be sort of funny, like Asian people being bad drivers because they are hung over from drinking all the time, most issues were quickly touched on and then a new one was thrown onto the dais. Something which bothered me a bit if just because it isn’t like you often find, outside of YouTube, productions like this which touch on issues Asian Americans deal with.
Leading to the whole road trip story which, for me, was kind of dull. For never mind going on the road trip leads to Sebastian and Naoto leaving the rest of the Asian cast behind, but with the build of Naoto falling in love with Olivia not being developed well, it doesn’t make the build to meeting her that strong. Add in Joslyn never really came off as an interesting love interest for Sebastian, nor character on her own, and you can begin seeing how the film goes from something good, to barely above average.
Overall: TV Viewing
Though the road trip story isn’t the best, nor are the issues touched on given seriously hilarious jokes or insight, there is still value to this film. If just because, for an indie film, it still has something to say worth listening to. I just wished the focus was tighter, the romantic plots more developed, and the jokes and insight into Asian American issues a bit more consistent. Hence the TV Viewing label.
Things To Note
Jessica Van, who plays Annie, you may know from playing Becca in Awkward.