28 January 2008 | fablesofthereconstru-1
Meet Sandra Oh when she was, "Oh, she's Canadian?"
Thank the Taoist gods that twelve-year-old Mindy Lum(Valerie Tian) is a sweet, quiet girl who uses her magic powers for winning lottery ticket- numbers and matchmaking. Just look at the damage Mindy inadvertently creates for Shuck(Chang Tseng) with her mirrors and Chinese juju. The bad spirits that ricochet off mom, alights on this twilight security guard, whose sudden termination from his job leads him on a downward spiral that proves to be almost fatal. Mindy and her single mother Kin Ho(Sandra Oh) belong to a different narrative from Shuck's, but they dovetail, as does the other two parallel stories from time-to-time, like how you bump into people who live in your neighborhood. Sometimes you exchange waves, sometimes you stop to chat. In the remaining story that completes the triad of Canadian-Chinese narratives is an upstart monk who Mindy never meets. "Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity" approaches religion from a position of being faith-based(Peter, the son of a cook, feels but never truly experiences...), and a position from which religion has an actual effect on the physical world(...what Mindy experiences, who changes the fortunes of her Canadian neighbors by reading a book on Taoist magic).
"Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity" rests on the young shoulders of first-time actress Valerie Tian, who has an ancient Chinese secret to acting, which is helpful to any pre-pubescent actor, regardless of ethnicity, to survive the here today, gone tomorrow world of thespians-too-young-to-drive. Don't smile. In other words, if cute is your aim, your five minutes will be up pretty fast. Tian acts older than she looks. She is from the anti-Cindy Brady school of acting, and the now-eighteen-year-old(old-enough-to-drive) Canadian is, not surprisingly, still working. She's Su-Chin in "Juno". You know, the lone anti-abortionist who chants, "All babies want to get borned!"