Admit it, you’ve done it. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. For anyone who’s stalked an ex on social media comes a wickedly funny film about the crazy ends we’re driven to by love. In his directorial debut, Randall Park turns the awkward moment when you and your partner decide to take a breather from your relationship and spins it into a comedy of errors.
Meet Ben (Justin H. Min), the night manager of a Berkeley movie theater, and his girlfriend Miko (Ally Maki), young urbanities living in the Bay Area. Their relationship is strained because of his pessimistic and pretentious attitude toward life. When Miko gets an internship opportunity in New York, they decide to take a break and put some distance between them.
Left to his own devices, Ben pursues excitement with an oddball co-worker, Autumn, and then a grad student, Sasha. When neither fling works out, he shadows Miko on Instagram as she explores her new city. As their communication fades, Ben decides to take matters into his own hands and visit her in N.Y. Little does he know, he’s about to get a crash course in closure, Big Apple style. Surprise, Miko is living her best life with her new beau.
Rejected and obsessed is never a good combination. Still, Ben recruits Alice (Sherry Cola), his expressive lesbian sidekick, to join him in N.Y. and gather intel. The two shadow Miko, lurking their way through the city streets with enthusiasm and shady decision-making, leading to a series of comic events.
Based on his acclaimed graphic novel, writer Adrian Tomine delivers a dramedy with sharp-witted characters and somehow endears the audience to Ben’s messy and hypercritical personality. In an auspicious directorial debut, Park skillfully weaves together the heartbreaking and heartfelt moments of the story.
Min gives a breakout performance as a messy antagonist who hits rock bottom and obsesses over flawed characters while refusing to address his own shortfalls. Min and Cola’s cynical discussions about sex, love and relationships easily make for the film’s best scenes.
“Shortcomings” is a clever exploration of the complexities of relationships and doesn’t shy away from the bittersweet moments of heartbreak and self-discovery.While stalking isn’t a recommended romantic strategy, it proves to make for an entertaining movie.