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When ambitious New York attorney Sam is sent to Shanghai on assignment, he immediately stumbles into a legal mess that could end his career. With the help of a beautiful relocation specialist, a well-connected old-timer, a clever journalist, and a street-smart legal assistant, Sam might just save his job, find romance, and learn to appreciate the beauty and wonders of Shanghai. Written by
Light Airy Escapade with some valuable insights about 'ex-pats'
SHANGHAI CALLING may not light any fires of excitement in filmdom but it is a successful dual country effort to quash some misconceptions about China and the US and the news we hear daily. And if it were for that alone it would be worth an evening's outing, but graced by a really top notch cast of fresh actors not well known - yet - it becomes a tender little romp set in the spectacular beauty of Shanghai! The story is a predictable one:a young handsome Chinese American Lawyer (a very fine young actor hunk Daniel Henney) who was born in America and speaks no Chinese at all is sent by his major law firm in New York to gain access into the big business happening in Shanghai - home of the manufacturers who make everything used in this country it seems! Once in China he encounters Chinese customs of which he is ignorant, a language he does not understand, an ex-pat mayor of Americatown (Bill Paxton), a beautiful single mom (Eliza Coupe, another one to watch) who has moved to China to give her daughter a new life and is in charge of finding homes for new businessmen, a gorgeous assistant (Zhu Zhu)who falls for him, and a crazy ex-pat (Alan Ruck)who teaches English as a sideline to womanizing. When our young lawyer seems to fail at everything he intends to do he engages a fix-it guy humorously called Awesome Wang (Geng Le) and gradually our lawyer finds a new outlook on his cultural heritage, rights some wrongs, and falls in love.
Daniel Hsia directs and keeps the momentum going throughout film - even when relying on the ubiquitous chase scenes (here on bicycles). It is a fine introduction to coexistence between the new China and the somewhat backwards USA! Grady Harp
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