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Staff & contributors
It’s always tricky translating literature to screen. In Shortcomings’ case, it struggles to make its Berkeley and New York settings appear more lived-in than just a few postcard-like frames. You could also tell that the conversations it stirs up about things like representation and mixed-race relationships began in the early aughts, when the novel it was adapted from was first released. But those lapses are small and forgivable in the face of a lovely ensemble cast and a whipsmart script. It also takes a special kind of skill to make a character as fiercely unlikeable as Ben (Min) watchable, to hold up a mirror to the audience and make them stay. Thankfully, it's a skill that Tomine and first-time director Randall Park display with such grace. Ben, Alice (Sherry Cola), and Miko (Ally Maki) are flawed and often pathetic, but they’re also honest reflections of who we become when the demands of self-preservation and romantic openness clash. It’s a little unnerving to hear them verbalize what we've always feared about ourselves, but it’s also exhilarating, not to mention comforting, knowing that we're not alone in feeling this way. Shortcomings works because it doesn't confine itself to genre: it's a character study first, and a romantic comedy second.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Adam Enright, Adrian Tomine, Ally Maki, Boran Anh, Debby Ryan, George Deihl Jr., Jacob Batalon, Jess Nahikian, Justin H. Min, Melanie J. Newby, Mike Cabellon, Nikhaar Kishnani, Randall Park, Ronny Chieng, Scott Seiss, Sheldon Best, Sherry Cola, Sonoya Mizuno, Stephanie Hsu, Tavi Gevinson, Theo Iyer, Timothy Simons

Director: Randall Park

Rating: R

An innocent-fun movie, Always Be My Maybe is a lovely thing to turn your brain off to. Sasha and Marcus are high-school best friends who dated briefly and went their separate ways. 16 years later, they meet again - Sasha is a famous chef, and Marcus is still living with his dad.

What really makes this movie is the writing from Ali Wong and Randall Park, who also play the two leads. The dialogue is sharp, believable and smart - going as far as covering themes of gender and parenting. But also, because a rom-com about two Asians from San Francisco is not exactly a common occurrence, the characters are fresh, the jokes are fresh - everything is fresh.

Watch out for the character who plays Marcus' dad, he plays the character of an overly honest Korean dad perfectly. And also watch out for Keanu Reeves, he plays a crazy version of himself!

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Adam Farnsworth-Lautsch, Ali Wong, Ashley Liao, Brian Cook, Byron Noble, Casey Wilson, Charlyne Yi, Chris Hlozek, Corey Seaver, Daniel Dae Kim, Eddie Flake, Ellen Ewusie, Emerson Min, Emilio Merritt, Jackson Geach, Jagen Johnson, James Saito, Jason Canela, JayR Tinaco, Johnny Walkr Jr., Karan Soni, Karen Holness, Keanu Reeves, Kenan Zeigler-Sungur, Kipp Glass, Latonya Williams, Maddie Dixon-Poirier, Marcella Bragio, Marco Soriano, Michelle Buteau, Miya Cech, Neil Webb, Nevin Burkholder, Oliver Rice, Omar Khan, Panta Mosleh, Peggy Lu, Peter New, Randall Park, Raymond Ma, Sean Amsing, Simon Chin, Sonia Beeksma, Steven E. Rudy, Susan Park, Tana Yu, Tyler McConachie, Vivian Bang, Xiao Qing Li, Yaroslav Poverlo

Director: Nahnatchka Khan

Rating: PG-13