Now going into this movie I had no idea this was going to be a romantic comedy/drama. I was led to believe the movie was about Ryan (played by Korean-American Jake Choi above) as a gay Chinese-American fashion designer who hates his Chinese-ness. Well, that is in there. He does male fashion spreads and then enters, Ning (James Chen) who is a famous Beijing-based Chinese actor trying to make a splash in the American market.
James Chen as Ning
Ning requested a Chinese fashion consultant after firing his first fashion consultant in American who was not Chinese. Immediately there is a tension between Jake and Ning. Jake dislikes Ning because he's Chinese. Ning dislikes Jake because he is too American, or as Ning says Jake is a like a Panda. Jake and Ning are able to work together, just barely, until Ning changes out his shirt for Jake's pajama-like top and Jake finds himself checking Ning out and Ning finds Jake checking him out also. Ning immediately changes clothes and says Jake is fired. Jake's boss demands Jake do whatever it takes to get Ning's account back.
Jake goes to Ning's apartment and explains to him that he is gay but that he's a "potato queen" and that he has no attraction to Chinese men and Ning need not feel anxious. So from there, we somehow end up with this:
The movie deals with the problems and struggles of the shadow in the diasporic psyche. It's a great movie that will continue to help Strand Releasings shake off its reputation for distributing low budget poorly made films. The only criticism was whether this movie was only conversing with the diaspora or if there is a role for the Middle Kingdom in the hidden treasurers that Ryan finds.