Shopping For Fangs

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy, Drama, Thriller

Asian American stereotypes are gleefully mixed, mismatched and tossed out with yesterday's bowl of tea in this scrappy, candy-colored, self-conscious, satirical thriller by cheerful iconoclasts Quentin Lee and Justin Lin, UCLA film-school grads who both emigrated to the U.S. as youngsters and share a blithe disinterest in the more traditional stories of...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Asian American stereotypes are gleefully mixed, mismatched and tossed out with yesterday's bowl of tea in this scrappy, candy-colored, self-conscious, satirical thriller by cheerful iconoclasts Quentin Lee and Justin Lin, UCLA film-school grads who both emigrated to the U.S. as youngsters and share a blithe disinterest in the more traditional stories of immigrant assimilation and nostalgia. Two stories unfold and occasionally intersect in Southern California's San Gabriel Valley, a prosperous melting pot of Asian American cultures. In the first, wan, unhappy Katherine (Jeanne Chin), a Vietnamese refugee married to a prosperous, self-centered, body-building businessman (Clint Jung), loses her cell phone during a mental blackout. She begins receiving sexy calls and photos from a cheerfully uninhibited, blond-wigged waitress -- think

Brigitte Lin in Wong Kar-Wai's CHUNGKING EXPRESS -- who works at the nearby Go-Go Café. In the second narrative strand, mild-mannered accountant Phil (Radmar Jao), who works with Katherine's husband, starts experiencing abnormal hair growth and feeling mighty aggressive. This leads him to believe

he's becoming a werewolf, despite his doctor's advice that he just needs to get laid. Lee and Lin divvied up writing and directing chores -- Lee (who was born in Hong Kong and raised in Canada) handled Katherine's story, while Lin (born in Taiwan, raised in Orange County, CA) handled Phil's -- but

their styles mesh seamlessly. The product of their shared mix-and-match sensibilities is almost too hip for its own good, but the way-cool attitude is balanced by the movie's sharp insights into the embrace of consumer culture that renders identity -- sexual, racial, cultural, whatever -- just

another commodity that can be chosen, consumed and discarded at will.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Asian American stereotypes are gleefully mixed, mismatched and tossed out with yesterday's bowl of tea in this scrappy, candy-colored, self-conscious, satirical thriller by cheerful iconoclasts Quentin Lee and Justin Lin, UCLA film-school grads who both em… (more)

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