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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Simply FOBulous
Simply FOBulous
Reel Indies // Unrated // July 24, 2007
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted October 13, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

Simply FOBulous is an independent film about a Vietnamese family and the a search for love. The movie's title "simply FOBulous" refers to the term FOB, which is an acronym for Fresh Off the Boat. FOB is a term generally used to refer to foreign nationals who have recently immigrated to a foreign nation. They tend to stand out in all fashions, yet try harder than anyone to fit it. In Simply FOBulous, a recent FOB comes to the Seattle, Washington as a mail-order husband and upsets the balance of a local Vietnamese family (for the better).

Thuy (Chauu Lu) and Van (Kathie Pham) are sisters. Since their parents immigrated to the United States, they have been slowly "corrupted" by American culture. The girls spend their days at the mall shopping, eating fast food, talking on their cell phones, and text messaging. Their behavior bothers their parents to no end. Their mother Mai (Nancy Calos-Nakano) is especially unhappy about it. The girls have a little sister, Xuan (Shigeko Nakano), who has yet to be fully Americanized. Ban (Toan Le), their father, has been lost in the lust that is sexual opportunity. He left Mai and the girls to chase American women and have lots of sex.

Mai hopes to salvage her oldest daughter's life, before she pisses it down the tube. She feigns a terrible sickness (claiming she is dying) in order to get the attention of her daughters. In particular, she convinces Thuy to fulfill a dying mother's wish and get married. Mai uses a Vietnamese matchmaker and friend Bac (Paula Misyashiro) to find Thuy's husband. After a rigorous search, they pick Dung (Steven Liu) and he comes to live with them.

When Dung arrives, Thuy is already having second thoughts about the marriage. She takes out her aggression on Dung by treating him like he does not matter. Her overly bitchy and rude attitude makes Dung feel like he's in hell. For the most part, Thuy just sees Dung as a thing and not a person. He is a stupid FOB who does not understand American life or speak English. What she doesn't know is that he is highly educated, speaks fluent English, and understands her very well.

As the story continues Dung gets accustomed to his odd host family and tries to understand why they all act the way they do. He finds salvation in Thuy's sisters, who treat him like a real person. He also befriends three guys from work, Khanh (Tuan Nguyen), Tuan (Royce Koh), and Hoang (James Tran). These three guys are goofy and FOBlicious... karaoke, bubble tea, and VCDs. Rap star Sir Mix-a-lot (best known for the "I Like Big Butts" song) guest stars as a wedding crasher.

For an overall movie, Simply FOBulous was not great. The story moves very slowly and its eighty-seven minute runtime feels like several hours. The problem is that the storyline is so uneventful and uninteresting. It is a real task to sit through it from start to finish. And the thing is I really, really tried to like this movie. I sat through it with the hope that it would get better in the next scene. The fact of the matter is that it did not. The plotline was just too simplistic and had little to offer.

On a positive note, I did like the characters and there were several solid performances. Tuan Nguyen plays a minor supporting role, but he brings a few chuckles. Lead actress Chau Luu gives her character real personality. Shigeko Nakano is an adorable character. Toan Le makes for an outrageous father with his keen sexual interests.

Overall, I really did not care for Simply FOBulous. The story was pretty weak and moved far too slow for my tastes. There were some decent moments and I did enjoy the majority of the cast. For this reason, I think the movie is worth renting if you are a supporter of independent films. However, if you are simply looking for an entertaining romance-comedy, Simply FOBulous is not what you are want.

The DVD

Video:
The video is given in 1.78:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen color. The picture quality is average. There is a distinct grain in the transfer, as well as ghosting and noticeable compression artifacts. The picture looks a little blurry.

Audio:
The audio is presented in 2-channel Dolby digital stereo. The language is primarily English, but there is also frequent Vietnamese spoken. The portions with Vietnamese have burnt-in English subtitles. The sound quality is average and on par with the picture quality.

Extras:
Simply FOBulous has a few items of interest for those who enjoyed the film. The first is a commentary track with director/writer Richard Cranor. There are also two clips: "Bosaiya Vision" (2:18), director of photography B.A. Bosaiya goofs around with the cast, and "Fart Lunch" (0:45), a dramatic sequence from the end of the movie is integrated with fart noises.

Final Thoughts:
Simply FOBulous is an independent film about the mail-order husband who finds himself marrying into a mixed up family. The story is pretty simplistic and moves a very slow pace -- giving the movie the feeling it runs longer than it actually does. For this reason, I found it really hard to get into, despite liking several of the characters. In the end, I think this movie is best reserved for supporters of independent films as a rental.

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