It had been a serious week in film for me. The films I screened for review included the topics of war, honor killings, genocide…not uplifting or light in any way. I was in need of a light, feel-good film and found my answer in a stack of screeners awaiting my attention, the title that caught my eye: The People I’ve Slept With. Perfect, this is what I needed, a cheesy comedy.
Angela Yang (Karin Anna Cheung) is a bit of a slut, that is to say, she enjoys sex the same way you and I would enjoy a piece of chocolate: daily and a different flavor each time. She keeps a series of baseball/sexual partner cards with a picture she has snapped on the front and their stats on the back. Yep, you got it, stats, all measurements included. When Angela finds herself pregnant, she turns to her best gay friend Gabriel Lugo (Wilson Cruz), who is also a bit of a slut, for advice and support.
The two friends shuffle through Angela’s baseball cards looking for possible clues as to who the father could be. The two inch stack of cards is narrowed down to four possible fathers: 5-second guy, Mystery Man, Nice-But-Boring-Guy, and Mr. Hottie. Angela, remarkably, is able to track down each of the possible fathers and obtains DNA samples in some interesting ways.
As Angela reunites with her past lovers, she envisions each one in the role of father and husband, seeing her life for the first time with different eyes and thinking to herself that the possibility of settling down and living a life more like her responsible sister (married, house, two kid and a dog) does not sound that bad. She begins to fall for Jefferson Lee, AKA Mystery Man, and starts to envision a life together.
Gabriel also has a life altering experience. He finds that he cannot continue his promiscuous ways when his actions hurt and push away that special someone in his life. Heartbroken, Gabriel tries to win him back.
Angela and Gabriel come up with a plan. They decide to plan a double wedding with the idea that if they plan it, their grooms will come.
The People I’ve Slept With was for me a wonderful surprise. I did not expect from the title, nor after reading the synopsis for the film, for it to be of the quality and caliber that it is. The script is such that it could have been easily turned into a horrible, low grade film. Quentin Lee makes sure this does not happen with perfect casting, sharp editing, and sense of comedic timing. The film reminded me much of Humpday, in that it takes a ridiculous premise of a story and turns it into a heartfelt, warm comedy. It is the type of film that gets better and better each time you watch it, and you find yourself throwing around its fun and witty lines.
The casting could not have been better. Karin Anna Cheung is perfect in the role of Angela. She comes off as shallow enough to be able to be a bit of a slut, but there is more to her character, and we can see that immediately. Karin seems to be someone trying to find herself, something each of us can relate to, and we almost immediately forgive her for being a slut. This may be my favorite role that I have ever seen Wilson Cruz (All Over Me, He is Just Not That Into You) in. He gives Gabriel depth when most of his character is otherwise pretty shallow. The chemistry and comedic timing between Cheung and Cruz makes the premise of this film work.
The screenplay is cleverly written by relatively newcomer Koji Steven Sakai. He incorporates into the story an uptight perfect older sister and then throws in a twist of a free spirited Chinese father, who goes against the stereotypical Chinese father that we have become accustomed to seeing. He accepts, and in fact embraces his free spirited daughter. The film is narrated by Angela who is telling “Tiny” (her baby) the story of how she came to be. The dialogue is funny, yet there is a certain amount of depth and warmth within the screenplay which keeps the film from becoming a shallow, stupid comedy; a somewhat difficult task to accomplish.
The music in the film was fun, and would be a definite soundtrack that I would buy. There is plenty of fun, danceable music, and Composer Steven Pranoto’s score lends a playful and warm tone to the film.
The People I’ve Slept With is a film in which all of the element fit together perfectly, and without one, the film would have easily come undone. Two thumbs up or Quentin Lee for making the pieces come together.
The People I’ve Slept With is currently playing at Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in NY, NY and is scheduled to open in Los Angles on the 27th of August at the Laemmle Sunset 5.