STAND UP MAN
Directed by Aram Collier
Moses Kim is living his sexy dream. He’s a rising star in Toronto, getting the laughs in a big city comedy club, slinging jokes about life as the only Asian in a miniscule town called Windsor. But punchline becomes reality when Moses’ parents follow their missionary calling, and he must carry on the family restaurant… in Windsor. When a spoiled checked-out Gangnam cousin is also dumped at his doorstep, STAND UP MAN becomes a buddy film about two very different Koreans relinquishing one path and carving something genuine from the reality of a small nowhere town.
STAND UP MAN’s strengths are in the cultural details – knowing nods to the international student racket, the phenomenon of the Korean sushi restaurant, and the spectrum of global K-pop fandom including a culminating dance contest. Rosalina Lee gives us a nice slow-burn performance, and is a foil for Daniel Jun’s cranky gangly take on interrupted momentum. As a film about a comic, STAND UP MAN becomes a study of the comedian’s central challenge – how to transform the overlooked into something worthy of being witnessed, laughed at, and revealed like an onion bloom burning freshly teary eyes. Or as Moses’ friend puts it: “It’s better to be good at being a nobody, than being an asshole somebody.” –Christina Ree