The Motel | Chicago Reader

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This leisurely paced tale of adolescent befuddlement owes its appeal primarily to Jeffrey Chyau, endearing as a Chinese-American student writer named—what else—Ernest. When he's not penning stories or bickering with his younger sister, Ernest cleans and pulls night-desk duty at the rooms-by-the-hour motel operated by his stern single mom (Jade Wu). The mood picks up when a charismatic womanizer who's down on his luck (graceful and sexy Sung Kang from Better Luck Tomorrow) checks in and decides to teach the boy to cut loose. There's little originality in the joy rides, first kisses, and clashes with bullies, yet this 2005 debut feature by writer-director Michael Kang captures the small triumphs of a boy becoming a man. 76 min.

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