Wedding Palace is a charming, delightful and very funny romantic comedy about Jason Kim (Brian Tee, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, The Wolverine), a 29 year old Korean-American who lives in Los Angeles and works in advertising. According to a family curse, explained in an animated sequence, he will die if he doesn't marry before his 30th birthday. When he's left at the alter by his bride-to-be Jinnie Park (Joy Osmanski), his parents Kwan (Stephen Park) and Mi Sook (Jean Yoon) become frantic with concern.
While on a trip to Seoul, Jason's unusual pitch for a product not usually associated with men finds unexpected support from Na-Young Song (Hye-jeong Kang, Oldboy), the only woman at the meeting and the only person who sees the potential in Jason's approach. After a blind date that his mother has arranged in hopes of getting him hitched turns into a nightmare, Jason sees Na-Young by herself in a karaoke booth and joins her. A romance begins to bloom, but Jason is returning to the U.S. the next day. They carry on the romance long distance via computer and decide to marry. Jason's parents and other relatives are thrilled.
|Na-Young by herself in a karaoke room|
But when Na-Young arrives in Los Angeles for the wedding, a small but very significant problem arises, putting both the wedding and Jason's life in jeopardy.
Wedding Palace marks the feature film directorial debut of Christine Yoo, who was a writer on the TV mini-series Afro Samurai. She also co-wrote and co-produced the movie. The story employs a standard rom-com structure -- boy and girl meet cute and fall in love, an obstacle arises to their romance, and in the third act they're happily reunited. While the film has universal appeal (it has been very popular with Spanish-American and African-American audiences), it does take place within the specific context of upscale, highly materialistic Korean-American families. This environment includes certain particularly powerful demands by one's parents and a comparative drive to please them. The cast, almost all Korean-American actors and actresses, is uniformly terrific, and the film's production values are top drawer, remarkably so for such an independent production.
|Jason Kim (Brian Tee) engages in a long distance relationship with Na-Young|
I've seen an online press screener of the film twice and enjoyed it even more the second time. I'll be seeing it for the third time at the 7:30 pm screening on Friday at the AMC Empire 25 theater in Times Square. I'm really looking forward to seeing it on a big screen with what I'm sure will be an appreciative audience. After that screening I'll be moderating a Q&A with director Yoo. It promises to be a terrific evening.
I've been a fan and booster of the film for over a year and unhesitatingly give it an ACF rating of 3.5 out of 4 stars; very highly recommended. It's wondrously entertaining, well-paced and hits all the right notes. Especially the funny ones.
Below are two clips from the premiere of Wedding Palace at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on Friday, April 29, 2011. The first one is an interview with Brian Tee, who plays Jason.
The second clip shot was by actor Stephen Park, who plays Jason's father, at the LAAPFF premiere.
Watch the Wedding Palace Movie Trailer.
Check out the Wedding Palace Movie website for all theater names and locations.
Buy Wedding Palace tickets at Fandango
Join the Wedding Palace Fan Club on Facebook
Follow Wedding Palace on Twitter.
Wedding Palace at Tumblr