Saturday, May 21, 2022


Playing at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 22, at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland, California as part of the Center for Asian American Media Film Festival:

Dealing With Dad--Three grown children in a Taiwanese-American family reunite at their childhood home in Milpitas, California when their father shows signs of depression. He lies in bed all day watching TV and won't engage with anybody, except to absently offer his kids money.

The trouble is that this makes him a far more agreeable person than he was before he got sick. Dad (Dana Lee) was an angry, distant, unloving man whose ferocious criticism of his children amounted to verbal abuse. His hyper-organized daughter Margaret (Ally Maki), now married and with a biracial son, self-describes as a "neurotic OCD hypochondriac"; she's haunted by dreams of being overcome by a deluge. His banker son Roy (Peter S. Kim) is overweight from stress eating over his impending divorce. His other son Larry (Hayden Szeto) is a comic book nerd and toy collector who still lives at home in his early thirties, and whose only income is the little he can make from selling off his action figures. 

Their unfiltered, unflappable Mom (Page Leong) shows no special concern at Dad's condition, and Larry certainly finds it easier to share a house with him this way. But Margaret takes charge as best she can, trying to get him diagnosed and medicated. Dad doesn't take her efforts lying down, however--or, rather, he refuses to take them any other way.

After playing at Phoenix Film Festival and Tucson's Arizona International Film Festival in April, writer-director Tom Huang's briskly directed feature makes its Bay Area debut Sunday at the CAAM Festival. Despite some sitcom-like schtick, the movie is a small triumph, a sweet but firmly unsentimental, believable family comedy that's no less genuinely funny for its edge of poignancy. Huang focuses on ensemble acting with impressive results; every member of the cast is top-notch but the core, the siblings, reflexively teasing and bickering with a palpable undercurrent of love and support for each other, come across like people it would be fun to hang out with.

And in any case, it's the certainly best movie to come out of Milpitas since The Milpitas Monster (1976).

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