11 March 2005 | rmuncada
The most surprising film I've seen so far this year
Excellent film about misogynist Maxwell Bright (Patrick Warburton) who, fed up with his dating history with American women, decides to get a mail order bride from China. Things go well for him at first as she appears as subservient as advertised, but when he embarrasses her (and himself) in front of his friends at a poker night, he finds that she is much more than just a prim and proper housewife. In fact, the gifts she has may even lead this unlikeable jerk to redemption.
Warburton gets to bust out of his usual monotonous character trappings and shows some serious depth and rage. The changes seen in Maxwell Bright are neither smooth nor immediate. He has a tendency to lash out verbally at any female in the vicinity, and his tirades are alternatively LOL funny and cringe-worthy for their cruelty. Marie Matiko plays the beautiful Mai Ling, Max's bride, with equal amounts dignity and strength. When Max finally makes his turn for the "better", the lessons learned are never preachy, and the story doesn't turn sentimental. Religion is dealt with in a mature manner that is a departure from most movies I've seen that have tread in that area. David Beaird's screenplay treats its characters and the audience with respect.
I went into this film thinking it was just going to be a cute little romantic comedy or fish-out-of-water story, but the plot twists taken are brave and eventually much more satisfying. This is not light-hearted fare. It's worthy of a wider release.