Chaz Young is the eldest son in a wealthy Chinese/American family living in a rather palatial house in Los Angeles. He’s a handsome and popular athletic high school student and is considered quite perfect by more than a few people, especially his younger brother Nick who idolizes him. When Chaz is killed by a drunk driver, his heartbroken parents flounder whilst Nick is totally inconsolable.
As the story unfolds we slowly realise that Nick’s odd ways are due to the fact that he has Asperger’s syndrome, but Doug one of Chaz’s best friends wants to help the younger boy overcome his social awkwardness and invites him to take his late brother’s place at their usual weekly get together. There is some initial resistance from the other guys in the group, but they eventually welcome him in especially when Nick (thanks to his Aspergers) shows remarkable talent in playing poker.
When he learns that Chaz had been a regular winner like he has now become, Nick was more than intrigued to track down where his brothers significant jackpots had ended up. The trail led him to an Inner City Youth Center where Chaz had once been forced to do community service, and where he had so got wrapped in its work he became a mentor and a major donor. Whilst still taking this discovery onboard, Nick then learnt that his elder brother was gay and that Randy ‘his best friend’ had actually been Chaz’s lover.
Any startling news is tough for anyone with Nick’s diagnosis to deal with, and he had the added problem that thanks to his church-going conservative parents he had strong religious beliefs too. He panicked, as did his parents for totally different reasons, but he found some remarkable hidden strength to save the day when he unlocked the code to Chaz’s computer and discovered what his brother had always wanted to share with him.
This well-meaning drama that is slightly heavy-handed in its message about all kinds of tolerance is the work of filmmaker Quentin Lee who has cornered a significant niche as an exponent of Gay/Asian cinema. This one was written by mother and daughter Fabienne and Ellie Wen and lacked the edginess of Lee’s early work (‘Ethan Mao’ , ‘Drift’). Having the protagonist as a teenager with Aspergers was an admirable ambition, and young veteran actor Booboo Stewart in a stellar turn, almost convincingly pulls it off. He does much better than with his part than Joan Chen and BD Wong who had little to get their teeth into as his parents.
There is however something very endearing in its good naturedness that helps you overlook some of the flaws ….. and after all, in the end you cannot fail to want to root for Nick.
Available on AMAZON VOD
Available on AMAZON VOD