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The Motel
The Motel
Actors: Sung Kang, Samantha Futerman, Jeffrey Chyau, Jade Wu
Director: Michael Kang
Genres: Comedy, Drama
UR     2007     1hr 15min

Puberty sucks, and nobody knows it better than 13-year-old Ernest Chin (Jeffrey Chyau). As he watches guests come and go, Ernest finds himself forever stuck at his family's hourly-rate motel, where he divides his time betw...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Sung Kang, Samantha Futerman, Jeffrey Chyau, Jade Wu
Director: Michael Kang
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Drama
Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 01/30/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 15min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A good mix of humor and drama, Excellent.
C.C. | 12/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This movie is about an Asian-American adolescent and his younger sibling living a frugal existence in a seedy motel run by his mother. His life isn't so pretty in the presence of lowlifes, soiled sheets, and puberty, but he gets by. The boy and a sketchy drunkard (one of the motel's occupants) form a tentative friendship. The drunk becomes a sort of mentor while he vicariously confronts some problems in his own life. It's gritty, true-to-life, and funny. If you like simple, poignant portraits of American life this film is for you.

Don't expect "Mr. Miyagi" to turn up in this movie. If you're looking for Zen Buddhism, Anime schoolgirls, or just another silly martial arts-exploitation film, just back slowly away..."
"The Motel" Is Worth Checking Into--A Familiar Coming-Of-Age
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 02/25/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

""The Motel" is, at once, totally familiar and shockingly different. Its concept and themes relate to every coming-of-age film you've ever seen. This low budget feature doesn't wrestle with any significant issues, it just presents a brief moment in time where its young protagonist begins to move away from childhood and assert his individuality. The observations are small, the plot is slight, and most of the scenarios are commonplace. But that doesn't mean this film lacks charm and originality. For what is unique about "The Motel" is its environment. Set in a seedy and dilapidated motel run by a Chinese American family, the film explores a rare topic--not just coming-of age in terms of manhood, but asserting yourself in America against the traditions of your family culture.

The film follows Ernest Chin, an awkward 13 year old, who faces normal pubescent dilemmas. He is pestered by a local bully, is secretly in love with his best girlfriend, and is starting to explore his sexual nature. Through it all, he is expected to work cleaning rooms at the motel nonstop and his family doesn't support his academic and artistic interests--he has won an honorable mention in a writing contest (not even good enough to lose)! When a young Korean man (Sung Kang) checks into the motel, Ernest is fascinated. Hip and attractive, hard partying and successful with women--this childlike adult intrigues Ernest. But it soon becomes clear that Kang is, also, a bit of a wreck--and he forms a relationship with Ernest because he needs someone to connect with, someone who will look up to him. This relationship is, by far, the most dynamic element within "The Motel." In fact, the rest of the picture pales in comparison to the energetic interplay whenever Kang is on the screen.

There are some small, but not unexpected, revelations in "The Motel." It is a slight and enjoyable story. Jeffrey Chyau, as Ernest, is likable but can render certain line readings quite flat. He does carry the story, however, and I suspect most will find him somewhat engaging. To me, Kang gives a superlative performance in the film's most difficult role. You'll like him, hate him, pity him, and completely understand Ernest's fascination with this complicated loser. It is a star-making, revelatory performance and I hope to see a lot more from Kang.

I did enjoy "The Motel," for me it was about 3 1/2 stars. It can be pleasant and humorous, but it is so modest in scope that it's not likely to linger. I definitely look forward to director Michael Kang's next project--he's a talent with a distinct point of view. KGHarris, 02/07."