Gary is in Beijing to make it big, after failing to impress his Chinese investors he soon takes up English teaching and gets life lessons from Frank, an incompetent mentor. Gary's real ...
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Gary is in Beijing to make it big, after failing to impress his Chinese investors he soon takes up English teaching and gets life lessons from Frank, an incompetent mentor. Gary's real reasons for staying become apparent when his son and Chinese ex-wife enter.Written by
I lived in Sanlitun for two years and so I was intrigued by this movie from the first moment I heard about it. I was just now finally able to locate a copy on a Chinese web site and I eagerly anticipated clicking play, if only to count the places I recognized.
And the disappointment began almost immediately.
Life in Beijing for an expat is an amazing journey that is almost impossible to convey to anyone who hasn't experienced it. I hoped that this movie would help me explain some of the strange realities of everyday life. The opportunity to create a story that is really interesting and real is so rich and fertile.
But the producers of this movie did not take that route. In quick succession we are introduced to a series unsympathetic characters. Actually, this story does not have characters, only caricatures. The protagonist, Gary, is a sad sack of epic proportions. I have met some assholes like Frank, but none so obvious. Still together these two provide the expat version of Dumb and Dumber.
The sequence with the school and the restaurant are more interesting, but while the principal is the best drawn of the stereotypes she is still not realistic enough and the fawning Momo is over the top.
While the basic situations are all too common in China, the reality of how they play out is never so simple.
While I can recommend this movie to other foreigners who have lived in China, it runs more like an inside joke that would not be near as interesting to general audiences.
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