Challenging the phrase “bad sex is better than no sex at all”

The People I've Slept With

on August 27, 2010 by Tim Cogshell

Angela Yang (Karin Anna Cheung) is a modern Chinese-Canadian woman who has lots of sex with several partners of both sexes, likes it and talks about it a lot. Naturally, as the film begins, she's un-expectantly pregnant. We watch as she makes a recording for the baby whose father she is about to spend the next 80 plus minutes trying to discern with the help of her gay friend, Gabriel (Wilson Cruz). The many trite notions about sex, sexuality and relationships found in The People I've Slept With grate less because the bulk of its cast is Asian, and frankly, though we've seen every scene in this movie in any number of better-made films over the last two decades, none of those other films contained let alone featured any Asian people. Asian cinema released in the west is generally period set or otherwise action oriented. The audience here might be young, North American born Asians who otherwise do not see themselves represented in contemporary cinema; but maybe not. Either way box office returns will not be exceptional, because it's not a very good movie.

Through process of elimination, Angela and Gabriel work their list down to the five or so likely baby daddies. It's a selection of young Asian men who range from the nerdy to the dangerous to the traditional, including one fellow who's running for political office. In the meantime, both Angela and Gabriel are forced to face their promiscuous pasts. Have they been nasty whores or just fun-loving singles? Either way the jig is up and it looks like Angela will have to give up her free-spirited ways, whether she can figure out who the father is or not.

Despite its ostensible sass, The People I've Slept With features nary an R-rated moment, and ultimately Angela and Gabriel fall into line as good people who restrict themselves to one sex partner and responsible parenting. You've seen this movie before, so this is not a reveal. If there is anything you've not seen in The People I've Slept With it's this many Asian filmmakers both fitting in and caving into western social norms for the sake of cinematic parody.

Distributor: Independent
Cast: Karin Anna Cheung, Wilson Cruz, Archie Kao, Chris Zylka, Stacie Rippy and Lynn Chen
Director: Quentin Lee
Screenwriter: Koji Steven Sakai
Producers: Quentin Lee, Koji Steven Sakai and Stanley Yung
Genre: Comedy
Rating: Unrated
Running time: 89 min
Release date: August 13 NY, August 27 LA, September 3 SF

Tags: Karin Anna Cheung, Wilson Cruz, Archie Kao, Chris Zylka, Stacie Rippy, Lynn Chen, Quentin Lee

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