A still from Shortcomings by Randall Park, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute

SHORTCOMINGS comes up short. Randall Park does a good job directing his first feature film, but there’s not enough in the script and graphic novel by Adrian Tomine to justify a full-length movie.

At first glance, it tries to be an Asian-led version of HIGH FIDELITY. Subbing the record store for a Berkely movie theater. Yet, the difference between the two is in the protagonist. John Cusack can play a jerk, learning to grow because he has been a romantic, nice guy in many movies before it. Whereas Justin H. Min as Ben has yet to have the relationship with the audience to embark on that journey. Ben’s character growth takes longer than Cusack’s, and an awful first act weighs the movie down.

What doesn’t come up short in SHORTCOMINGS is the soon-to-be (if not already) break-out star – Sherry Cola. Her character gets all the best lines in the movie and would be worthy of a romantic comedy where she’s the star. After the far superior JOY RIDE, and SHORTCOMINGS, I can’t wait to see what Sherry Cola does next.

I wanted to love and support Randall Park’s independent film, but I can’t get behind a movie where so little happens outside of laughing at Sherry Cola.

It’s available in limited theatrical release.

Aaron "Dobler" Goldstein

Aaron Goldstein is a Product Manager by day, ludicrous speed content consumer by night. He’s a LA Film School Alumni and TV Academy / Producers Guild of America member. Aaron is a proud parent and dad joke enthusiast.

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