Monday, August 02, 2004


yellow fever: catch it!

Danny Leiner's (Dude, Where's My Car) had a new movie that came out last weekend: Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Notably, the film's two leads are played by John Cho and Kal Penn (random trivia fact: 10 years ago, Cho and I were in the same Asian American poetry class at UC Berkeley), making this the first major studio film (New Line) to cast not one, but two Asian American men as the stars.

I reviewed the film for but here's the short version: it's a funny, though predictable film that most of my collegiate-age students seemed to enjoy. S and I caught an advance screening a few weeks back, found the movie laugh-worthy, lamented its predictably juvenile sexual humor, and were generally glad to see that we've now reached a point in Hollywood history where two Asian dudes can play smoked out, sex-obsessed slackers. I know I probably sound sarcastic right now, but seriously, it's progress. Kind of.

The thing is: I got a special fondness for Cho, not just because I knew him way back when, but this dude has put in work. I'm teaching Asian American film/video at UC Berkeley this summer and last week, we saw, by sheer coincidence, three films in a row starring him: Yellow, Shopping For Fangs, and Better Luck Tomorrow (this doesn't include all the other films he's ended up in outside the API world). So yeah, I'm happy to see him doing well out there. To boot, Kal Penn came off as crazy smart during the Q&A we saw - I confess, I don't know much about him (probably because I didn't see his last big film, Van Wilder and can you blame me?) - but I was impressed enough to want to see him in more things in the future. I admit: it was fun to see them together in this film despite my other misgivings. Take that as a cautionary (but positive) recommendation.