Sometimes, we come across movies that just don't attract us from the first look, but compel us to watch it. Whether it's a long line that has no appeal or a poster that totally ruins a movie – something throws us off. That may be the case for many people staring at a DVD with "You Have A Nice Flight" letters printed on it, but they would be heavily missing out.
While this charming little feature may not be something Oscar-worthy and it may not be the greatest comedy of the century, and it may not deliver an amazing dialogue or memorable characters we would go on to talk to for ages about, it does deliver one thing it is fun. From the start of the movie, one might be confused what story the director is trying to tell. Is it going to be dramatic, Sweet and charming? Or is it going to be a comedy? Perhaps this will all turn into a weird horror movie three minutes in? It gives you plenty food for thought before clarifying that it is, indeed comedy. It is very relatable,especially to those of us,who are foreign.
How many times as first-time travelers did we get stuck in an airport when someone didn't understand what we were saying? How many times people made fun of those accents? How many times people stereotyped us? I think foreign audience, especially those who travel a lot, will recognize the value of this film as one that pokes fun at all those holes left on us by the always helpful airport staff. But let's notdelve there too much: let's talk about the film itself.
Jimmy Dinh is great as a lead actor in this role. This is his story; this is something he obviously feels very comfortable doing. His portrayal of Dong Hung is hilarious: from little stereotypical clichés about Vietnamese people to a little deeper issue to one-liners that can have you cracking for a long time. Jimmy truly is a charming guy and his comedy is excellent. During the filming of "You Have a Nice Flight", he wore many hats, not only those of actor in multiple roles throughout the film. He also directed the film, marking his feature film debut in Hollywood world and as first time – not bad! In fact, Jimmy's directorial debut is one of the better ones seen across the scope when comparing with many other first-time directors.
Now, it's time to review the story. Comedy is a hard genre to tackle, regardless of what regular day people think. With drama, it's hard to get people to go to emotional lengths, to keep your cast and crew in check psychologically, to write a script that has weight and emotion beyond what others could do. With comedy you face other issues: you never know whether things are going to be funny or not until you see them on screen. Sure, jokes can sound pretty good on paper and some of the physical gags likely can make the crew laugh in between takes, but it is very much about editing, timing, and the final product. Filming comedy is not like staging comedy. On stage you have tricks you can play – you can manipulate audience into laughing. In the film, if it's not funny – it's not funny at all. It's very hard to make something funny if it's not.
And as a first-time comedy film for Jimmy Dinh you have to hand a guy his hat – he did a pretty good job. Sure, some of the jokes in the movie can take it a notch too far, and some of the stereotypes are a little hard to watch, but overall, it's not a bad comedy. That does not mean that the film cannot have been improved after a couple of script revisions: perhaps some of the physical gags could have been changed by the charming presence of Mr. Dinh on screen collectively combined with his very funny accent jokes. But hey – everyone has to go through a few bad "eggs" before they hatch a good one.
Overall, the crew and cast of "You Have a Nice Flight" have done a fantastic job. The cinematography is decent – sometimes changes between focus threw me off, but otherwise a pretty good job. The acting of an ensemble cast was very good too – they seemed to enjoy doing this production, especially some of the older actors were quite hilarious. The lighting at the airport was good, but once it transferred into the plane something was a little off and too dark. The score sometimes made things too complicated or dramatic, or unnecessarily cheese. At times it was enjoyable and added to the atmosphere, but the score was really the only thing that could have made this production better.
Otherwise – best of luck to Jimmy Dinh in his future adventures. Excellent first film! Maybe given with more time and guidance Jimmy Dinh will one day be able to make some of the best comedy in the world. We need diverse actors and creators to be heard and I really wish Mr. Dinh would become one of the advocates of the world for those people, whose voices are often silenced.
Rimute Terra Budreviciute/Cult Critic/CICFF
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