Critic Reviews



Based on 9 critic reviews provided by
As for the story, it's in some ways inevitable, but it has enough barbs and curves to keep it new. The smartest touch is that the young lawyer is, as a moral entity, a work in progress.
Though Mr. Hsia, a television alumnus who also wrote the script, has created a somewhat predictable story infused with stereotypes old and new, he gains mileage from light humor, buoyant energy and some appealing performers.
Hsia has an appealingly slick visual style for the fast-paced if predictable turns in Sam's story, shooting the gleaming, bustling Shanghai as if it had finally earned its big-Hollywood-romantic-comedy stripes as a setting for the usual fish-out-of-water jokes, broad humor, meet-cutes, silly coincidences and happy endings.
As the narrative builds, the movie shows how the harassed and impatient Chinese-American finds tolerance, acceptance of others, inner salvation and love. A lot for one movie to negotiate, not always successfully, but the enjoyment factor is obvious.
At its best, Shanghai Calling is mildly diverting.
The movie wants to say something significant about the excitement and alienation of life in a strange — which is to say, new — place. The film never gets there, but its aims are honorable, and the lovingly shot Shanghai scenery does enhance the trip.
Slant Magazine
If you prefer your social commentary in the form of a glorified sitcom with broad humor and even broader caricatures, look no further.
Through it all, Henney is an appealing screen presence, but he’s trapped in a movie that puts regurgitated sitcom shtick and regional economic boosterism ahead of character and humor.
Village Voice
Shanghai Calling eventually reveals itself to be just another stale tale about the virtue of morality over ambition.

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