Randall Park is a hilarious guy, and has been making us laugh since his breakthrough role on Fresh Off the Boat, to funny supporting roles in Ant-Man, Aquaman, the great short-lived series Blockbuster, and many more. Can he take those comedic gifts and translate them into a successful filmmaking career? Shortcomings, his debut comedy that premiered at Sundance, will make that case when it arrives this summer.
Based on the graphic novel by screenwriter Adrian Tomine, Shortcomings centers on Ben, an Asian-American urbanite and aspiring filmmaker who manages an art-house movie theater, but really spends most of his time obsessing over unavailable white women and watching movies. When his girlfriend moves to New York for a big job opportunity, Ben is free to explore his options and discover what he truly wants.
The film is led by Justin H. Min, joined by Sherry Cola, Ally Maki, Debby Ryan, Tavi Gevinson, Sonoya Mizuno, Jacob Batalon, and Timothy Simons.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this, but I HATED this movie, finding Ben to be utterly unlikeable but not in the way where the character is still fascinating to watch. He’s both boring and so insufferable that you cheer every time something terrible happens to him, because it’s always his own fault. The only upside of Shortcoming is co-star Sherry Cola (a rising star who will be in Joy Ride next week) as Ben’s queer best friend Alice, whose serial dating habits are both humorous and honest. Park also follows all of the tropes of a first-time director trying to show his indie cred. I called it that he would cast himself in a cheeky cameo and sure enough, here he comes wandering in.
To be fair, Cortland liked Shortcomings a lot more than I did. You can check out her review here.
Shortcomings opens on August 4th.
Ben, a struggling filmmaker, lives in Berkeley, California, with his girlfriend, Miko, who works for a local Asian American film festival. When he’s not managing an art-house movie theater as his day job, Ben spends his time obsessing over unavailable blond women, watching Criterion Collection DVDs, and eating in diners with his best friend, Alice, a queer grad student with a serial dating habit. When Miko moves to New York for an internship, Ben is left to his own devices and begins to explore what he thinks he might want.