John Apple Jack – Film Review

I watched this film last night. It is an indie romantic comedy movie set in Vancouver about a privileged young gay man who is looking for meaning in his life, and his former neighbour, an ethnically Chinese man who works for him as a chef and is living with his sister. I say comedy, I think the flattering way to think about it is as a satire (although I don’t think it was intended to be a satire).

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I’ve never seen an LGBT film where the characters throw so much fruit at each other. The comedy in the film was too obvious for me. It felt like the lines were appealing for laughs too hard. That is why I feel more comfortable interpreting it as a satire because I didn’t want to believe that the film was taking itself seriously. There were some odd scenes where it felt like it was trying to be something like Arrested Development but couldn’t quite live up to it.

There were some funny moments, such as where one of the main characters comes out and no one cares. However, there were other moments which were too overblown to be funny, such as the early sex scenes, and there was one character, Marco Chow, who made me feel uncomfortable whenever I saw him because he was playing up to the camp Asian stereotypes far too much. This guy wasn’t a character but a caricature. I had problems with other characters, and other plot reveals which were unconvincing both in the execution and their level of general believability within the universe the film was set in.

Overall I wasn’t happy with the film. There weren’t enough laughs to excuse the faults. The only way to like the film is to think of it as a complete satire. A satire of gay lives, and a satire of romantic comedy. If you think they are earnestly trying to make you laugh then you will be disappointed, whereas if you think they don’t care if you laugh or not, because they know the whole thing is so deliberately ridiculous, then it becomes funny.

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