CINEVUE FILM REVIEW: YES, WE’RE OPEN
Directed by Richard Wong, YES, WE’RE OPEN is a fine example of what a romantic comedy should look like in 2012. Like the main characters of the film— a young couple exploring the pros and cons of an open relationship—YES, WE’RE OPEN prides itself on being modern, and it should. In the time of online dating and domestic partnerships, it feels natural to question more conservative ideas of what it means to be “in a relationship,” and this film does so in a comic yet honest way.
Much of the film’s success depends on its two leads, Lynn Chen (Sylvia) and Parry Shen (Luke). From the opening scene, it’s clear that these two have chemistry, as Luke openly burps in Sylvia’s face while trying to share an intimate moment in bed. They are the epitome of overeducated 20-somethings, yet in a display of good acting, the characters never feel stiff or stereotypical.
Good thing, too, because the film expects us to have some amount of sympathy for them, despite their inherent unlikeability. As they continue to judge others and remain nauseatingly opinionated, we start to see that they, themselves, are the people they claim to despise, and among all the in-jokes and witticisms, complicated characters start to emerge.
H.P. Mendoza, who wrote the script, manages to keep it all very light, with clever repetitions of jokes (the continued mispronunciation of the restaurant “Hornito’s,” for example) and several pleasantly awkward situations. Though the possibility of having an open relationship has serious implications for Luke and Sylvia as a couple, it also opens up a lot of funny opportunities that Mendoza for the most part takes advantage of.
This is why the film works as a romantic comedy: it focuses on the characters without forfeiting the laughs. And behind all the modern ideas being explored, it is a classic story about love. To drive this point home, clips from a metafictional early ‘40s film called THE DEVIL IN THE DETAILS play after each act, and each clip parallels the story of YES, WE’RE OPEN. The times can change, but as this heartfelt film proves, love does not.
YES, WE’RE OPEN is now screening at the 2012 Asian American International Film Festival. For show times and tickets, visit here.
Contributed by Dan Toy