I rented a movie called Shanghai Kiss. I had never heard of it before I saw it on the shelf at Blockbuster. It caught my eye because it had Hayden Panettiere in it, and I'm a big Heroes Fan. But when I picked it up, and saw the premise, I decided not to put it down.
My girlfriend and I have noticed that Asian Men tend to not date non-asian women. (By the way, I have been noticing more and more examples of this not being true, so maybe the tide is turning). Since this premise of this movie is about an Asian Man dating a White Girl, I thought I would at least see what it was about. Bad mistake.
The basic premise is that Ken Leung, a thirty something struggling actor, meets a 16 year old Hayden Panettiere while taking the bus. They become friends, which is awkward enough, and the whole movie you are wondering if it will turn into more.
Spoilers after this
Most of the film revolves around Leung struggling to find his place in the world. He is neither Asian nor does he feel like he is really American. Everyone in America sees him as Chinese and nothing more. Everyone in China sees him as an American. All the while, the one person who really loves him, Panettiere, is off limits.
This is one of those movies that is just awkward. Why is a thirty year old guy hanging out with a sixteen year old girl? They address this issue multiple times in the movie, so clearly they want you to feel this awkwardness, but it still made the whole thing creepy. I can relate to the Lenug's feeling of being trapped between two worlds, as I often fell this way myself, but the ways in which this movie addresses those issues seem a little contrived. Further, the awkward romance between the two forces you to focus on that rather than Leung's racial dilemma.
In the end, he ends up with Panettiere, of course only after she turns eighteen. It's still creepy though for a 30 something year old guy to be dating an 18 year old girl. Asian guys have it hard enough as it is, there is no need for a stereotype to be formed that we are so hard up for dates, that we will resort to dating underage girls. Maybe it wasn't the point of the movie, but it was certainly what I focused on.