The Motel
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Writer-director Michael Kang makes his feature debut with the coming-of-age comedy, The Motel. Newcomer Jeffrey Chyau stars as Ernest Chin, a chubby 13 year-old Chinese-American boy whose mother (Jade Wu) runs a sleazy motel in upstate New York. The clientele of The Motel are predominantly prostitutes and their johns, which spurs Ernest's budding sexual curiosity. When he's not cleaning rooms, eavesdropping on guests, avoiding the local bully, or tormenting his little sister Katie (Alexis Chin), Ernest harbors a crush on Christine (Samantha Futerman), who works at a nearby Chinese… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The Motel gives the lie to all those mainstream teen sex comedies starring happy, horny gwailos ."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"There is honesty and integrity in the filmmaking and the performances, which make The Motel among the best character studies of the year."
‑ Bob Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"A wonderful reminder that adult life is never as difficult as puberty was."
‑ Maria Garcia, Film Journal International
"Each of Ernest's interactions and epiphanies is pure, calculated movieland."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"It's pretty much a customary coming-of-age tale, though it is told with refreshing honesty and realism."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"Perhaps The Motel meanders a bit too much -- hard to do in a 76-minute film -- but it is an engaging little movie."
‑ G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
"A well-worn coming-of-age tale enlivened by pungent detail and a sharp visual sense."
‑ Sam Adams, Los Angeles Times
"A welcome addition to the "awkward adolescence" genre,"
‑ Don Willmott,
"Kang and Chyau make for a great team, with Chyau able to give an honest performance that requires humiliation, but never disrespect."
‑ Brian Orndorf,
"... suffers from rocky moments and an unsure eye, but [Kang's] sense of detail is rich with prickly contradictions and he resists tidying up the story."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"It's a modest triumph of unflattering realism, proving yet again that a camera, a few good actors, the right material and a sensitive director are all you need to illuminate any particular aspect of humanity."
‑ Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times
"Even if writer-director Michael Kang doesn't exactly break new ground, he imbues his debut with a quiet, compelling inertia that mimics puberty's rudderless drift, its burgeoning desire for something, anything, to change."
‑ Tim Grierson, L.A. Weekly
"A most impressive feature film debut by writer/director Michael Kang who has crafted a compelling tale by examining rites of passage from a fresh perspective, namely, that of a Chinese-American adolescent."
‑ Kam Williams, Upstage Magazine
"As rundown as it is and as downbeat as its denizens are, only 76 minutes seems like too short a stay at "The Motel.""
‑ Rob Thomas, Capital Times (Madison, WI)
"...specific and detailed enough to separate itself from the pack."
‑ Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide
More reviews for The Motel on Rotten Tomatoes