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'Red Doors'

This suburban-family comedy, which plays out in the landscape of Chinese American assimilation, is everything you'd expect from a frosh-indie effort: stilted dialogue, oversimplified relationships, sitcommy goofiness, and cringe-inducing romances. And yet Red Doors is so well-meaning, with such obvious affection for its characters, that it pleases nonetheless. The Wong family has three daughters: Samantha (Jacqueline Kim), an angular corporate achiever engaged to be married to same; Julie (Elaine Kao), a med student ensnared by a famous actress doing method work at the hospital; and Katie (Kathy Shao-Lin Lee), a high schooler caught in an escalating prank war with a neighbor boy. When father Ed (Tzi Ma) skips town for a Buddhist monastery, the family is thrown into upheaval, or at least into plot developments. Writer-director Georgia Lee has burdened her film with ill-conceived details and flat-falling gags, but her characters—especially the appealingly warm Julie—survive.


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