‘Ethan Mao’



Written and directed by Quentin Lee

June 17 through 23, ImaginAsian

Ethan Mao is an exhausting exercise in genre mixing. Jun Hee Lee plays the title character, a closeted gay teen thrown out of the house by his monotonal father (Raymond Ma) once his porn stash is discovered. This rote family drama morphs into a rote thriller as Mao takes his family hostage to recover his deceased mother’s necklace. The actors respond with slack-jawed stares, straining to remember lines and the resulting dead space is padded with jump cuts, overexposures, and gratuitous inserts. Each character is given one dehumanizing trait to work with, the richest being the stepmother’s (Julia Nickson) Mommie Dearest/dragon lady shtick. Her blowsy attempt to seduce Mao’s beau (Jerry Hernandez) provides the only respite. R. EMMET SWEENEY