2023 Sundance Film Festival: Shortcomings movie review

A still from Shortcomings by Randall Park, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute
A still from Shortcomings by Randall Park, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute /
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Our coverage of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival continues with a review of the feature film, Shortcomings which is the feature film directorial debut of Randall Park. Does the film check all the comedic boxes? Is it worth checking out when it releases?

Shortcomings follows a trio of young Bay Area urbanites–Ben Tanaka, Miko Hayashi, and Alice Kim–as they navigate a range of interpersonal relationships, traversing the country in search of the ideal connection. The film was directed by Randall Park and stars Justin H. Min, Sherry Cola, and Ally Maki.

Shortcomings is hands down one of the best movies from the Sundance

We meet Miko and Ben, who are leaving the movie’s premiere and have an argument over the movie they just watched. Later, a new girl comes into work, and Ben hires her, causing Alice to be not thrilled as she believes she is his type. One night Ben gets home, Miko finds porn on his computer, and she flips out at him. His playing it off only infuriates her even more. The following day, Miko finds out she got an internship for three months in New York and tells Ben she is going. Unsure of how to handle it, he reaches out to his friend Alice who doesn’t give him the best advice. Since she is leaving, they decide to take a break.

Throughout this journey of following Ben, we meet his best friend, Alice. Personally, I loved this relationship because it highlighted what a real friendship should look like. There were no sparks or weirdness, and the two people had a love for each other (as friends) and weren’t afraid, to be honest about their respective lives. It’s often failed in movies that a man and woman can be friends without sparks, but Adrian Tomine’s writing is brilliant. We all need a friend like this in our lives.

Speaking of Alice, Sherry Cola is a knockout in this movie, playing that best friend. She and Justin Min have incredible chemistry, but she is so fierce and ferocious that I loved what she brought to this film. The rest of the cast really brought together one of the best ensembles of the festival. There is one scene between Ben and Mike that saw Justin Min and Ally Maki blew me away. It was a beautiful battle between two people who love each other, but one knows they can’t handle that toxic part of their life anymore.

Overall, Shortcomings is hands down one of the best movies of the festival. Excellent writing, elegant directing by Randall Park, and a fantastic ensemble cast make this not just one of the best of the festival but one you must seek out when it releases.

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