Early on in director Junya Sakino's new road trip comedy "Sake-Bomb" one of the movie's two protagonists Sebastian (Eugene Kim) is sitting on the couch in his boxer shorts watching his favorite rare classic hardcore pornographic video from the '90s ("Yellow Curry on White Rice," a cheesy porno movie within the movie featuring real-life porn actress Mary Carey).
But when Sebastian's girlfriend Tamiko (Samantha Quan) walks in on him, she quickly kicks him out, lamenting about how they managed to stay together so long before dissing him as being a "twinkie" (unhealthy, bad for you and full of s***) and slamming the door in his face.
The scene gives audiences a strong dose of the biting sarcasm and satire to come in Jeff Mizushima's screenplay for "Sake-Bomb" which takes viewers on a colorful road trip along the California Coast from Los Angeles to Petaluma as Sebastian reluctantly agrees to help his naive "FOB" Japanese cousin Naoto (Gaku Hamada) find an ex-girlfriend.
Through Sakino's keen eye, the movie's visuals are colorfully cheery despite Mizushima's caustic humor which touches upon numerous Asian American issues such as the ongoing discourse about Asian Men-White Female and Asian Women-White Male relationships.
Mizushima's screenplay also pokes fun at the angry Asian American male bloggers through Sebastian's character, who is depicted as a likeable but lazy Asian American male obsessed with sex, stereotypes and racism.
Sebastian's anger gets vented on his website (FOB M***********) which he uses to post video rants about every little thing that annoys him about the perception of Asians. But unfortunately, almost nobody watches the videos he posts and his lack of maturity is questioned by all of those around him.
The movie's road trip also has a "Dumb & Dumber" quality to it, as our fish-out-of-water Naoto and the stubbornly cynical Sebastian seemingly run into more and more eclectic characters on their way to Petaluma, including Joslyn (Marlane Barnes), a fiery flirtatious author, who seems like a suitable love interest for Sebastian.
However, the relationship between Joslyn and Sebastian comes to a head in a hotel room without a satisfying climax for either one.
The same could also be said about the movie as a whole, which touches on many real-life relationship issues but mostly relieves itself of any deeper commentary through its caustic humor.
Nevertheless, the real heart of this road trip is the awkward bond that develops between Sebastian and Naoto.
And even though neither of the two young men seems to have gotten what anyone would consider a "happy ending" from going on their road trip, they have grown closer through their shared experiences.
It's an experience that on the surface, the vast majority of audiences will likely find colorful, cheery and as amusing as doing a few sake-bombs (the ubiquitous beer cocktail made by pouring sake into a shot glass and dropping it into a glass of beer, which the movie takes its title from).
But as we all know, alcohol is a depressant that inevitably leads to a hangover when taken in excess.
For those that look beyond the laughs, at the story's melancholy mood, Sebastian's character is really masking his frustrations at the state of his own life through the caustic videos he posts, while Naoto has made a somewhat desperate journey to America to find his "true love" in order to take time away from his mundane life working in the Sake brewery back home in Japan.
Viewed from that perspective, "Sake-Bomb" delivers with a resounding visceral impact, albeit masked in a seemingly fun and amusing package.
Sake-Bomb had its world premiere at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival. It also screened at the 2013 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF), where it won the award for Outstanding Screenplay Award.
It opens in Los Angeles Nov. 8 for an exclusive run at the Downtown Independent.
For more info visit: www.sakebombmovie.com