The People I've Slept With -- Film Review
Empty"A slut is just a woman with the morals of a man," declares the heroine of Quentin Lee's indie feature about a woman trying to determine the father of her unborn child.
A defensible argument, to be sure, but "The People I've Slept With" nonetheless leaves a bad taste in one's mouth in its would-be lighthearted depiction of the sort of random sex that sometimes has far more serious consequences than an unplanned pregnancy.
Framed as a video addressed by thirtysomething Angela (Karin Anna Cheung) to her child, the film depicts the wacky consequences when Angela figures out after a fearsome bout of morning sickness that she's pregnant. Fortunately, she has kept track of her numerous amorous encounters via a series of snapshots of her lovers, complete with arch nicknames -- "Mr. Hottie," "Five-Second Guy" -- and graphic descriptions of their physical endowments.
Among the suspects is her ultragay, wisecracking (naturally) best friend, Gabriel (Wilson Cruz), with whom she once had a spontaneous encounter that did nothing to alter his sexual preference.
As you might have guessed, Angela tries to identity the father by surreptitiously obtaining DNA samples. Among the wacky methods involved is tearing off a strand of hair from the corpse of one of the less fortunate ones.
Although most of the candidates -- including an overzealous stalker whose sole appeal apparently is the fact that he's hung like a horse -- are less than desirable as would-be fathers, the exception being a clean-cut aspiring politician (Archie Kao) who turns out to have a secret of his own.
Largely devoid of the sex-farce style comic wit to which it aspires, the film is palatable largely because of the charm of lead actress Cheung, who manages to make her character appealing even while she's behaving in a manner that would embarrass the horny male teens in the "American Pie" movies.
Opened: Friday, Aug. 13 (People Pictures)
Production: 408 Films
Cast: Karin Anna Cheung, Wilson Cruz, Archie Kao, Lynn Chen, James Shigeta, Chris Zylka
Director: Quentin Lee
Screenwriter: Koji Steven Sakai
Producers: Quentin Lee, Koji Steven Sakai, Stanley Yung
Executive producers: Tien Lee, Sam Kwok, Brian Yang
Director of photography: Quyen Tran
Editor: Aldo Velasco
Music: Steven Pranoio
Production designer: Mona Hahm
Costume designer: Nicole Beckett
No rating, 89 minutes