A group of unlikely high school students take up crime as an extracurricular activity in this independent drama. Ben (Parry Shen) is a 16-year-old high school student who is the living embodiment of the stereotypical Asian overachiever. Ben… More A group of unlikely high school students take up crime as an extracurricular activity in this independent drama. Ben (Parry Shen) is a 16-year-old high school student who is the living embodiment of the stereotypical Asian overachiever. Ben obsessively studies even though he gets straight A's, takes part in a dizzying variety of school activities and community volunteer work, which he thinks will look good on his resume to colleges, and is even a member of the basketball team, even though he spends most of the season riding the pine. Ben also hopes being part of the team will help him win the heart of Stephanie Vandergosh (Karin Anna Cheung), a cute but equally obsessive girl who is on the cheerleading squad. When the big man on campus, Daric (Roger Fan), publishes an article in the school newspaper that points out Ben's true role on the team is to add a touch of ethnic diversity to satisfy Board of Education requirements, Ben is so embarrassed he quits the team and imagines his academic future going up in smoke. Daric seizes the opportunity to propose that he and Ben go into business, creating and selling detailed cheat sheets for school tests and placement exams. The cheat sheets are an immediate hit, and soon Ben and Daric advance to other forms of low-level crime, including drug dealing and fencing stolen goods. Before long, Ben and Daric are joined by a handful of friends -- Ben's close friend and part-time kleptomaniac Virgil (Jason Tobin), Hong Kong gangster wannabe Han (Sung Kang), and Steve (John Cho), a kid from a wealthy family who happens to be dating Stephanie -- but they soon find themselves moving deeper into the criminal underworld than they ever anticipated, and things get ugly when they try to move on. Better Luck Tomorrow was enthusiastically received in its screenings at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.
Consensus: A promising work by Lin, the energetic Better Luck Tomorrow is disturbing and thought-provoking.