Just when you thought romantic comedies had truly become an oxymoron, Christine Yoo manages to inject a little thought, a lot of humor, and enough shmaltz to pump some life back into the genre in "Wedding Palace."
Jason (Brian Tee of Fast & Furious) starts off with a strange preview of his destiny. During his hundredth-day celebration, the little tot forgoes symbols of wealth, luck, and scholarly prowess and instead pulls a maxi-pad from his mother's purse. As if he didn't have that to live down, his parents soon let him know (and constantly remind him) of the ancient family curse befalling male members of the family if they're not married by 30.
When his fiance leaves him at the altar, leaving him in stitches (literally), he's left with only a few months to find true love. Luckily (or fatelully) that happens during a trip to South Korea where he begins a romance with Na Young (Kang Hye-Jung). When he returns home to L.A, they continue their romance online until she comes to the city of Angels carrying a huge secret with her.
Part of the magic of Yoo's directorial debut is her ability to pull out all of the stops while keeping a tight rein on the chaos that erupts without notice. Through the use of clever animations to some cultural stereotypes that might get lost on some in the audience, Yoo reaches deep into her storytelling toolbox. It's not often that karaoke is used to not only bring two lovebirds together, but also as pretty nifty musical montage. It may be sappy and a little over the top at time, but it does borrow a bit from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," which isn't such a bad thing (spinoff TV series notwithstanding).
"Wedding Palace" manages to cover a lot of ground in an hour and a half. Boasting a bi-coastal romance, two near weddings and a lot of hilarious family turmoil is a pretty big order for a 1st time director, but Yoo and company prove that anything's possible if your heart's in it.
"Wedding Palace" MPAA: Not Rated. Running time: 98 minutes. In limited release nationwide