It's funny that the DVD cover for The People I've Slept With is of a faceless, sexy woman, lying on a bed in her panties. It's a sexed-up image that will likely catch a few guys' eyes on the DVD shelf, yet not a single iota of the movie's content feels like it was written or directed with the idea of appealing to straight men within a good hundred-mile radius. On one hand, it's not surprising that I didn't glean any real entertainment value from a film that has no interest in attracting me as an audience member, but The People I've Slept With is also a slog, built out of cliches and convinced it's smarter than other films in the same genre.
Angela (Karin Anna Cheung) is a young woman who gets plenty of enjoyment out of her laundry list of conquests, until a pregnancy test reveals that she's expecting. Deciding that maybe it's finally time to grow up and be a "responsible" adult like her sister (Lynn Chen), she enlists the friend of her gay best friend Gabriel (Wilson Cruz) and starts going through her baseball-card-like collection of photographs to figure out which of her recent lovers is a) the father, and whether or not he could also be "the one".
The People I've Slept With seems to think it's breaking through some sort of wall with a (bisexual) heroine who enjoys sex, but lines like "a slut is just a woman with the morals of a man" are a real "six of one, half dozen of another" situation, and that's before the movie trots in the Know it All Sister, the Gay Best Friend, the Goofy But Loving Dad (James Shigeta) and so on and so forth. Emotional pregnancy nonsense, catty snark (Angela helpfully tells the audience the length and girth of each guy), and maturity melodrama are also par for the course. None of it is exceptionally unpleasant (except the sister), but the movie does nothing to shake off how exhaustingly boring they are. Aside from the minor amount of charm Cheung exhibits, everything's strictly paint-by-numbers.
For some reason, it seems like romantic comedies of this sort of ilk are fascinated by broad slapstick, and The People I've Slept With is no different, allowing Cheung to do plenty of drunk acting, gives Cruz free reign to be as flamboyant as he wishes, and meaning three of four suitors (Randall Park, Chris Zylka and Danny Vasquez) are basically caricatures, allowed to chew as much scenery as they want to in the name of comedy. Only Jefferson (Archie Kao) acts like a normal human being, which makes it no surprise when he jumps to the top of the list of suitors. Both screenwriter Koji Steven Sakai and director Quentin Lee are also overly interested in Gabriel's story; for whatever reason, the movie dedicates almost half of its runtime to Gabriel's relationship with Lawrence (Rane Jameson). And it's not that the Gabriel material is any better or worse than the rest of the movie, it's just that, no matter how one slices it, it's just not relevant to what's happening to Angela.
Lee and Sakai are not great with pacing, pitching the film at a lazy, meandering rate that becomes tired after about fifteen minutes, but even the audience members who are still theoretically interested in who the father is by the time the film finally crawls across the finish line will likely be disappointed with the cop out the pair have devised. The People I've Slept With endeavors to be funny, sexy, and perhaps even progressive, but it's little more than the same old romantic comedy standbys assembled into a movie that can't even stay focused on its main character.
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the clever cover artists at Maya Entertainment have whipped up a sexy image of someone -- probably not Karin Anna Cheung -- lying on a bed, surrounded by the movie's "conquest photos", with focus directed at the woman's rear end. The back cover is much less slick, employing "Who's your daddy?" as a tagline. Sigh. No insert in the case, which is a plastic-reduced ECO-Box.
The Video and Audio
Colors are strong in the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation, given that this is a brand new movie, but other than that, the image is basically unremarkable. Detail is fine if a tiny bit fuzzy, and I didn't see any major black crush, artifacting, or noise, although one scene where Angela goes to a restaurant to meet Jefferson appears to have been digitally color timed or something, because it looks very, very strange.
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is also on the uninteresting/feeble side, with little going on worthy of activating the rear channels. As always, I don't think anyone's looking for a low-budget romantic comedy to be the demo disc with which to show off their new sound system, but it's a flat mix that feels consistently like production audio coming straight out of the speakers. A Dolby Digital 2.0 mix is also included, but no subtitles or closed captioning is present.
Two alternate openings (3:24) are included. Both are unused versions of the boring videotape framing device with a character that doesn't appear in the finished film. Neither are really any better than what is, although if I had to choose between the film's opening or either of the two alternate endings, I'd choose the second alternate ending, which is the shortest and ditches the line about sluts being women with men's morals. They are followed by an alternate ending (1:14) which is less of a cop-out than the finished film. The extras close out with "The People I've Made the Movie With (13:32), which is a standard making-of, which contains the usual back-patting and plot summarization.
Trailers for Year of the Carnivore, Spooner, and The Zombie Farm play before the main menu. No trailer for The People I've Slept With is included.
The only thing worse than a film that thinks it is original and fresh when it really isn't is a film that thinks that in addition to being those things, it's progressive. The People I've Slept With wants to strike a blow for women who enjoy sex, but is no less insulting to intelligence than the average Katherine Heigl vehicle. Skip it.
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