Monday, August 09, 2010

The Baby Daddy Quest: The People I’ve Slept With

Instead of notches on a belt, Angela marks her conquests with home-made baseball cards. Yep, they come with statistics on the back. If you think her lifestyle is unsustainable, you would be correct. Indeed, when pregnancy catches her by surprise, she is consumed by the quest for her baby daddy in Quentin Lee’s The People I’ve Slept With (trailer here), the closing night selection of this year’s Asian American International Film Festival, which opens this Friday in New York.

Angela is attractive, but anybody seems to have a shock with her. Her carefree father and flamboyantly gay BFF, Gabriel Lugo, encourage her carpe diem behavior, as long as she uses protection. Unfortunately, there were these four times when one thing led to another, and now she’s preggers. Fortunately, she has her souvenir cards, a paper trail to follow.

Of course, each of the four candidates was an excruciatingly bad hook-up in his particular way. The one exception is Jefferson Lee, her semi-regular fling, a Republican city council candidate (good luck with that in LA) who can also cook. Naturally, her only issue with him is his politics. However, several issues complicate their budding relationship, not the least being the whole paternity thing.

Given the subject matter, Slept’s risqué scenes should not come as a huge shock. Whatever you’re thinking, the film probably goes there at least once. The sample collection scenes are a bit much though. Still, the film is due a measure of credit for having the courage of its convictions. Despite the attitudes of its characters, Slept also notably resists indulging in gratuitous Republican bashing. In fact, Lee emerges as just as human and flawed a character as everyone else in the film. Still, the family values of Slept are much more of the alternative than traditional variety. Yet, the entire film is about the consequences of Angela’s sleeping around, so maybe a smidgen of traditionalism would not kill her.

While the frequent “you go girl” kvetching between Angela and Lugo gets a bit old, her scenes with Lee are reasonably mature and convincing. Karin Anna Cheung is a fresh and energetic presence as Angela and Archie Kao (recognizable from the original CSI) brings an easy charm to Lee. However, the over-the-top supporting characters (Carlton Kim, the nice but boring stalker) weigh down the film.

Though the comedy of Slept is largely broad, it still offers a few laughs here and there. Essentially, it is a naughty trifle, but less explicit than one might suppose. Lightweight but harmless, it opens this Friday (8/13) at the Clearview Chelsea.