‘Go Again to China’: Movie Assessment
These hungry for extra of the East/West culture-clash terrain of “Loopy Wealthy Asians” and “The Farewell” could savor the marginally downsized pleasures of “Go Again to China,” which gives up a number of the first movie’s life-style glamour plus the second’s extra earnest household drama. Emily Ting’s second scripted function is basically a freely fictionalized revamp of 2008 documentary “Household Inc.,” through which she charted her personal reluctant however finally rewarding transfer from New York Metropolis to Hong Kong, the place she skilled to run her hot-tempered father’s plush toy manufacturing facility.
Tethering that real-life story to some somewhat inventory narrative beats, this isn’t a memorable seriocomedy. However it’s a pleasing one that ought to do properly in home-format gross sales. A 12 months after the movie screened in competitors at SXSW, Gravitas Ventures is launching it on demand in addition to in a handful of U.S. theaters this Friday.
Right here, Ting’s alter ego is the extra caricatured Sasha Li (YouTube superstar and comic Anna Akana, in her first film lead), a Los Angeles get together woman whose foremost occupation appears to be clubbing along with her posse of equally glam twentysomethings. She graduated from trend college a 12 months in the past, however has didn’t discover a job — little question as a result of, in contrast to each different design-world aspirant, she hasn’t bothered with the same old dues-paying intern or assistant gigs. In truth, she has no work expertise of any form, having been supported in type her complete life by the Chinese language father who left her mom (Kelly Hu) way back.
They’re kind of estranged, save in monetary ties. However that modifications when dad Teddy (Richard Ng) abruptly cuts off the money movement, demanding she work a 12 months at his manufacturing facility in Shenzhen (a booming metropolis of as much as 20 million, not far north of Hong Kong) earlier than receiving any additional assist. That is unwelcome in some ways, not least as a result of the totally American Sasha barely understands or speaks Chinese language. However as soon as her lease verify bounces, she has little selection however to conform.
Daddy has been a busy man, not simply within the enterprise realm: His imposing manse homes quite a few beforehand unmet half-siblings by different ex-wives, together with bratty juvenile twins named Christian (Tiger Ting) and Dior (Aviva Wang), plus his newest, a lot youthful mistress (Kendy Cheung). However the first girl of the family is Sasha’s eldest half-sister Carol (Lynn Chen). She was additionally raised within the U.S., however has been right here for a decade as dad’s manufacturing facility next-in-command.
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That’s a considerably thankless job, as Sasha quickly discovers. Teddy is well-meaning, but additionally nearly childishly temperamental, taking out his frequent frustrations on all underlings. The brand new arrival’s design experience is useful when international patrons reject his newest, all-important Christmas toy line as old style; Sasha whips off just a few trendier concepts that briefly make her daddy’s golden woman. However as soon as her inexperience ends in a expensive mistake, their tentative reconciliation could also be torched for good.
“Go Again to China” is an enchancment from Ting’s prior narrative function “Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong,” a walking-and-talking romance a tad too indebted to the mannequin of “Earlier than Dawn.” However it nonetheless exerts extra warning in hewing to predictable tonal and storytelling rhythms, often throwing in some blunt factoids about worldwide manufacturing and commerce. The drained life-style satire of the opening reel (echoed in a bland closing-credits rendition of Corridor & Oates’ “Wealthy Woman”) lacks enamel, so issues search for when Sasha proves resourceful and even considerably impressed by her dreaded new manufacturing facility gig. Even there, nevertheless, the director’s script leans too closely on simple, contrived options to employee/administration conflicts and different real-world points.
Nonetheless, if there’s not a lot depth to the household drama or socioeconomic insights right here (nor any nice hilarity to the comedian points), “Go Again” stays likable as a well-recognized fish-out-of-water story in a novel setting. The succesful forged and brisk pacing hold consideration held towards a contented ending that pleases even when it’s a bit pat, to not point out inevitable.
The manufacturing values are skilled, though given the toy theme, Ting’s visible collaborators might’ve give you one thing a tad extra playful and classy than the movie’s competent however routinely vivid widescreen look.