Anita Ho (NR)

Comedy 81 min. February 27, 2015
By Abby Garnett
"Korean drama is real life," the title character’s overbearing Chinese mother snaps midway through Anita Ho, and who could argue with her? That's as real as any other way of understanding the entanglements of culture, family and love. It certainly explains why Anita Lee (Lina So) and her boyfriend, Harry Ho (Steve Myung, who also directed), endure the prejudices and aggressive conservatism of Anita's parents (played by Elizabeth Sung and veteran character actor George Cheung) over the course of one nasty weekend. Only a true romance could overcome opposition from these two, who insist on calling Harry "the Korean" and try to set Anita up with a doctor acquaintance at the moment of Harry’s proposal.

Myung and So co-wrote the film in a semi-autobiographical homage to their own real-life love story -- Anita stars on a Power Rangers–like show, while Harry’s an underemployed screenwriter — and though its awkward emotional payoffs feel three steps removed from reality, its cultural anxieties come cloaked in easy absurdism.

Cheung is a game comic nemesis to mild-mannered Harry — his maniacal chortling during the interrogation scene is a thing of beauty — and both he and Sung, with more than 250 IMDb credits between them, are veterans of the triumphs and indignities to which Anita and Harry are mere initiates. Myung's delight in the Lees’ kvetching is a genuine, if clumsy, tribute, much like the video game montages and karaoke fantasies that Harry lapses into. Without them, True Love would just be holding hands on the beach, and who wants to write about that?
Steve Myung George Cheung, Elizabeth Sung, Lina So, Steve Myung, Albert Wong, Raymond Ma, Brian Yang, Kenny Waymack Jr., James To, Becky Wu Steve Myung, Lina So Indican Pictures

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