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BETTER LUCK TOMORROW

A sober, super-achieving Asian-American student falls in with a noisy drugs & booze crowd in an otherwise sleepy Southern California suburb.

CAST:Perry Shen, Jason Tobin, Sung Kang, Roger Fan, John Cho, Karin Anna Cheung, Jerry Mathers

DIRECTOR: Justin Lin

"By turns broadly funny and absurdly broad, ‘Better Luck Tomorrow’ is an anatomy of identity in a culture in which identity comes booming through radio speakers, embroidered on baseball caps and emblazoned on luxury imports…the four friends start hustling cheat sheets to the academically challenged. From there it's a short hop to petty larceny, drug peddling, too much cocaine, too many guns and far too much bad-boy attitude by way of ‘Scarface,’ ‘GoodFellas’ and other gangsta clichés in rotation...It has the virtue of Lin's tangy wit but it also suffers from the vice of a director who, torn between personal vision and wide public reach, tends to smother his ideas under a veneer of cool…He's not averse to making us think; he just knows that first he's got to catch our attention." --Manohla Dargis, The Los Angeles Times

"Justin Lin, the writer and director of the teenage-wasteland drama ‘Better Luck Tomorrow,’ a shrewdly tense piece of storytelling, recognizes that sometimes it's good for a filmmaker to stir up trouble. He does so by focusing on the group most often orphaned into stereotypical behavior by teenage films, Asian-Americans… In the swift, compelling ‘Tomorrow,’ these young people are savvy enough to trade culturally on the box into which they're supposed to fit…Mr. Lin makes the anxious grasping of these kids for some kind of emotional turf — their own need to shatter the stereotypes that bind them — the heart of ‘Better Luck Tomorrow,’ a scenario that keeps the movie's blood racing." --Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

"…a zippy black comedy about brainy Asian-American teens in gated Orange County suburbs… Lin knows the drudgeries and rebel dreams of kids like Ben, and he fills the movie with good jokes about everything from tokenism in school sports to the absurd rigors of the Academic Decathalon. Obviously delighted to show these A students gone wild, he topples time-honored stereotypes of dorky-docile Asian students (remember the egregious Long Duk Dong in ‘Sixteen Candles’?) and spotlights some striking young actors worthy of other major roles… Reportedly re-edited to soften an ending that Sundance audiences found disturbingly nasty, the movie peters out, lapsing into a slack bout of retribution and wish-fulfillment so half-hearted in its cynicism that you can tell that Lin lacks the instincts for the amorality he appears to be courting." --John Powers, LA Weekly

"A dead body in the title-credit sequence is meant to tease the palate. But the corpse, along with some of the flashback events leading up to its fate, are just commercial window-dressing, the sort of generic Hollywood thing the third act of ‘Adaptation’ ridiculed…Most of writer-director Justin Lin's shapeless movie is as bland as the neighborhood, with each misstep in the boys' lives given equal dramatic weight…the movie doesn't want to turn off its all-important youth market by moralizing…The crime isn't that the movie's message is amoral, but that it goes totally unexamined, as if the recess bell rang too early." --Jami Bernard, The New York Daily News

"‘Better Luck Tomorrow,’ Justin Lin's auspicious second feature, gleefully explodes Hollywood's stereotype of Asian-American teenagers as quiet, well-behaved overachievers…The script by Lin, Ernesto M. Foronda and Fabian Marquez -- loosely inspired by the 1993 case of a California teen bludgeoned to death by his fellow Asian-Americans -- veers toward melodrama and implausibility approaching the end…But mostly this is a frightening look at a nihilistic, amoral subculture where adults are rarely seen -- and when they are, they tend to be like the ineffectual teacher played by Jerry ‘Leave It to Beaver’ Mathers…‘Better Luck Tomorrow’ marks Lin as a talent to watch." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"Every generation produces its own version of ‘The Graduate.’ Chalk up ‘Better Luck Tomorrow,’ Justin Lin's smart, sometimes raw comedy-drama, as a contender for today's teens…‘Better Luck Tomorrow’ features a strong ensemble of appealing young actors. It has a sharp, original take on this material, despite an ending that is violent and ambiguous." -- Marshall Fine, The Journal News

"After offering a fresh, subcultural spin on its genre, ‘Better Luck Tomorrow’ retrieves a somewhat clammy grip on formula to such a degree that, way before the climax, you can almost see the words ‘Senseless Act of Violence Coming Soon’ crawling across the bottom of the screen…Still, despite giving in to melodrama's nagging demands, Lin displays an arch, nervy style that could serve him well in the future." --Gene Seymour, Newsday