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A neurotic junior fashion designer from New York discovers her fiancé, KIET, working overseas in Vietnam may be having an affair with a supermodel. With jealousy burning and her wedding date on the horizon, she conjures up a scheme to achieve the ultimate makeover, investigate the supermodels and infiltrate the high-fashion world of Saigon in order to catch him in the act. But her plan backfires when she really befriends the three supermodels and discovers that there is more to life than living through a series of checklists. Written by
A wonderful breakout movie for Vietnamese cinema and a breakout performance by Kathy Uyen and cast
Full disclosure: I was lucky enough to see the grand opening of Am Muu Giay Got Nhon alongside the cast and crew, a few of whom I call my friends.
In a nutshell, I was completely blown away by how amazing this movie is. This didn't feel like a "Vietnamese" produced movie, though Vietnam cinema has gone a long way in the past few years. The visual quality of the film truly felt like a mainstream Hollywood production. From the moment the film opens to the final scene, you feel as though you've been whisked away to a major motion picture set.
The story reminded of a of amalgamation of French Kiss meets Sex in the City meets the Devil Wears Prada, but done with a fun Vietnamese overtone. However, instead of being a cookie cutter storyline with a typical ending, the story arch really takes you on a roller coaster ride. I honestly didn't know what the outcome of the story was going to be until it unveiled itself in the very end. Overall, this is an utterly enjoyable film that is extremely relatable if you're Asian, but anyone in any country can enjoy it.
I believe the real life aftermath of this film is what's really exciting. To me, this movie is reminiscent of the actors from Mystic Pizza. An iconic movie with great a ensemble cast, which became the launch points for so many huge careers. Mark my words in a decade; this movie will be Vietnam's Mystic Pizza.
First time actor, Petey Majik reminded us of a young Vincent D'Onofrio. My understanding is that this is Petey's first acting role ever, but I assure you that this will not be his last. His performance embodied the acting chops of someone who has been on the silver screen for quite some time and I think audiences will enjoy seeing him in films to come.
Phuong Mai and YaYa Truong Nhi are both known for their modeling careers and their professional personas clearly came out in the movie to help carry that sense of authenticity. Phuong Mai was the perfect contrast to YaYa in terms of character personalities, but instead of being these one-dimensional caricatures, they had real depth that was embodied in their performance.
Truc Diem, who is also a model and who has done some acting in the past had an exceptionally poignant performance. She wasn't just a pretty face, who helped contrast Kathy's character Anne. Rather, she was this soulful beauty, struggling with her own love for a more limited life versus the allure of a big city with a big city man. With looks like Truc Diem, its very hard to pull off this role, but she does it with grace and I think a lot of young Vietnamese women will be able to sympathize with her.
And finally, the crème de la crème Kathy Uyen. This is a clearly a breakout role for Kathy who truly showed that she has the ability to carry a major film. Her performance was on point in just about every single scene. She was funny, witty, crazy and most importantly she drew the audience into her own neurosis to the point that we could empathize with her craziness at the end. Even though Pretty Women marked the arrival of Julia Roberts as the powerful mainstream blockbuster carrying actress, it was her roots in Mystic Pizza that people remember the most. I'm sure within the next few years Kathy Uyen will find that blockbuster role in another movie, but I think people will always remember her as the sexy, fast-talking and quirky Viet Kieu, who won over the hearts of millions in Am Muu Giay Got Nhon.
Additional disclosure: There's an 72% chance I also have a crush on one of the cast members.
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