wedding palace

I was privileged to be able to watch this movie in a theater nearby – it wasn’t even showing in too many theaters, but I was lucky to be close to one of the few theaters that it was showing in. I saw posters all over my college campus, and they made me interested in the movie, but not to the point where I actually did some research and wanted to see it, until, of course, I received the opportunity to watch it.

I want to first talk about the poster itself. There were so many plastered everywhere around campus, and I would just glance at them as I was passing by. I had always just assumed that it was an Asian movie because of the Asians in the picture, and the subtitle that said “This is (not) a foreign film). But of course, since I was always in a rush and just quickly looking at it, I only read “This a foreign film.” Way to state the obvious, I had thought. However, upon closer examination of the poster itself, I realized that it said: “This is NOT a foreign film” – wow. That speaks volumes already. Whoever made the movie already made a point without even making me watch the movie. I saw that I had assumed that the movie was an Asian one in an Asian language because all the actors and actresses on the poster were Asian. I did not even stop to think that it would be an Asian-American (why do we need to hyphenate these things anyways?) movie in the English language. I am all about increasing Asian-American awareness (and perhaps making it so that we don’t even need the hyphenated “Asian” in front of the “American,”), so it was quite eye-opening as an Asian myself, to also misjudge the movie just from the poster – it goes to show how I have let the mainstream media/thoughts affect my own.

So coming into the movie, I was pretty excited. For all the above reasons. And because I saw the trailer and that got me pumped up.

So let’s actually get to the movie now, shall we?

Actors/actresses:

We have some notable actors and actresses here, but I’ll just list the two names that stood out to me: Margaret Cho and Kang Hyejung. In the Asian American community, I feel that Margaret Cho has always been a familiar name – I’m not sure of when I first heard of her but when I did, I did some online research and discovered that she greatly promoted more Asian-American coverage in media amongst many other things. With Kang Hyejung, I recognized her face but had to do some research to refresh my memory. Turns out she’s Tablo’s wife and a Korean actress! So I found it interesting that this movie not only used Asian-Americans, but also included an actress straight from Korea. I will be talking more about this fusing of the two cultures (Asian and Asian-American) within the movie as I continue my review.

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Storyline summary:

Basically, to keep this short and not ruin anything for you, this movie is about a Korean-American man who is under intense pressure from his family to get married before he turns 30 because his family is cursed (a mistake his ancestor made a long time ago in Korea). He is about to get married, but on his wedding day, his wife-to-be rushes off with the cake-maker and the wedding is called off. He then goes to Korea for a business trip and meets a woman who he ends up falling in love with. They start a long-distance relationship after he returns to America, and then he finally proposes to her. Seems like the end of the movie at this point, but it’s only the beginning. When s he arrives in America to meet his family and plan for the wedding, many things get out of control and…guess you’ll have to watch to see what else happens!

Movie analysis:

Now comes the real review. I am going to be honest and not lie. This movie did disappoint me a bit. Maybe because I watched the trailer, laughed my butt off from it, and wanted more, so my expectations going into the movie were very high.

This movie felt more Asian than American. The plot was typical of Korean dramas and very dramatic. I felt like the use of the family curse was supposed to be more comical than educating, but for me it was unnecessary and overly dramatized the entire situation. Starting off with this was kind of strange, but I believed that the movie would get better and more realistic as it progressed. However, for the most part, it continued to be overly dramatic and unrealistic.

The plot was very weak and unstructured, as well as very superficial – I was disappointed not just by how unrealistic it was, but how crazy it was. Everything went more smoothly in the beginning, but it seemed as if things got rushed as we reached the latter part of the movie. Fights and sudden reconciliation at the last moment were well-played but too rushed. The general plot was very feasible and realistic but the way that it was executed, and the details of that execution, were not the best. I expected it to go in deeper to greater issues instead of staying surface level with issues of physical appearance and the whole “who should I marry” or “I need to follow my heart” dilemma – too overused and unoriginal.

The movie poster claimed that this movie was NOT a foreign movie – well, for me, it felt like one at times. A good portion of the movie was in the Korean language and not completely English like I had thought. Of course though, this accurately conveys the dynamics between most Asian-American children and their Asian immigrant parents. But because the movie was not solely in English, I wondered if it alienated viewers who are not Korean. For me personally, I didn’t mind the large us of the Korean language in the movie because I could already understand everything that the characters were conversing about. However, I did notice that the amount of Korean used in the movie was excessive to other movies where foreign languages are employed within the movies themselves.

My question to the director is, what is the purpose of this movie? Is it to educate people about Korean culture? Or create a fusion between Korean culture and Korean-American culture for outsiders to see? Or perhaps it is just for the sake of publicizing Asian-Americans through media so that the world can see. Because it was difficult for me to grasp the purpose of this movie, I didn’t know in what direction this movie was headed in, for it was unclear to me the entire time. The movie left me more confused than satisfied, with more questions than answers. I wish it was more clear-cut as to its purpose so that I could gain a better understanding of it, but because the plot itself was weak and so cliche, it was hard for me to follow the overall goal and purpose of the movie.

I will give the movie credit for educating the audience about Asian-American culture through means of entertainment in a more casual environment (instead of a documentary or something of the sort), but I just wish that the plot was better thought out and performed in the movie. It would’ve not only made the movie more enjoyable than burdensome to watch, but would’ve also added better credibility to the Asian-American community in the United States.

However, don’t let this review keep you from watching! I loved how this movie was one of many small stepping stones that Asian-Americans are taking to get their name out into mainstream America. But it just has its flaws, like anything that is new – more exposure and experience will make future movies much better to the point where Asian-American films will be as refined as Hollywood ones. It is my firm belief that we must first overcome hurdles (even if that means that movies like this don’t end up as successful and well-received as originally anticipated) before we reach the point of victory.