Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics What's this?

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6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

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  • Summary: Thirteen-year-old Ernest Chin lives and works at a sleazy hourly-rate motel on a strip of desolate suburban bi-way. Misunderstood by his family and blindly careening into puberty, Ernest befriends Sam Kim, a self-destructive yet charismatic Korean American man who has checked in. Sam teaches the fatherless boy all the rites of manhood. (Palm Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    Kang's marvelously assured feature debut is a subtle adaptation of Ed Lin's acclaimed novel "Waylaid."
  2. 80
    There were half a dozen occasions, maybe more, when I roared out loud with laughter. This just may be a filmmaker with great things in him; this one's pretty damn good.
  3. It's Kang's first feature and it suffers from rocky moments and an unsure eye, but his sense of detail is rich with prickly contradictions and he resists tidying up the story.
  4. Unlike so many indie films, Michael Kang's gently empathetic debut embraces eccentricity without drowning in its own hip irony.
  5. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    70
    A well-worn coming-of-age tale enlivened by pungent detail and a sharp visual sense.
  6. 70
    The backdrop of this seedy motel is just the perfect place to illustrate the awkward times of early teen life.
  7. The Motel, Michael Kang's modest Sundance applause reaper, doesn't deserve to be shotgunned for the sins of 30 other movies. But the underwhelming syncopation of make-nice clich├ęs is too familiar.

See all 16 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. JoeK.
    Oct 14, 2006
    10
    Great first feature! Not for the type of audience that needs everything spelled out. Lots of stuff going on in there. I've seen it a couple times now and I keep finding new layers. Definitely worth seeing at least once. Expand
  2. sistertycoon
    Aug 1, 2006
    8
    Excellent acting and directon by robert wooosie. Go see it. I loved it. Could have been better but its really fun.
  3. ChadS.
    Mar 20, 2007
    7
    What "The Motel" has in common with a seemingly disparate film like Justin Lin's "Better Luck Tomorrow" is that the universality of people begets a common ground that preordains genre as largely being colorblind. This little gem is more of a coming-of-age film than it's an Asian-American one, but make no mistake, "The Motel" is a quietly important indie that knowingly acknowledges, then eschews the stereotypes which hinder Asian-American characters from being real people. "The Motel" opens at a Chinese restaurant, but interestingly, we never go inside it. This occupational staple of the "Oriental" is where the protagonist's dream girl(Christine, as played by Samantha Futerman) works. We follow Ernest(Jeffrey Chyau) to his family business, and it's not a Chinese laundry service. Like the characters in "Better Luck Tomorrow", there's more to Ernest and Christine than being mere bookworms. The boy is interested in porn. The girl likes to drink and smoke. It's brilliant how these polluting influences prevent "The Motel" from being too sweet, too easy to love. This film smartly shows how pornography retards the relationships between men and women. Even though the rocky relations between mother and son ends in mutual atonement, predictably mawkish, replete with tears; and too much time is devoted to Ernest's mentorship with a Korean motel-guest(Sung Kang), "The Motel" is most definitely worth checking out. Or is that checking in? Expand
  4. RobinHood
    Aug 1, 2006
    6
    Kinda Dull and Boring but a good enough plot to be watchable.
  5. [Anonymous]
    Aug 1, 2006
    4
    starts out decent and evenntually falls out flat with a bad plot and a dull screen presence.
  6. KenG.
    Sep 2, 2006
    4
    Flat, kind of drab movie, and there are problems with 2 of the main characters. The kid is simply too nerdy and wimpy to be likable, and the male guest who takes him under his wing is seriously underwritten. Plus, it is never clear why this guest becomes so interested in the kid. Expand

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