Shortcomings Movie Review

Shortcomings movie poster

Shortcomings. We all have them. I mean, I don’t. But most of us do. But Ben really has them. He’s obsessed with old boring films no one, especially his girlfriend, enjoys. He manages a movie theater that’s about to shut down. He lusts after his weird but attractive female employee. He’s also sort of a shithead.

He’s also the protagonist of Shortcomings, the new comedy-drama from Randall Park, a movie about several young people who all sort of suck in their own way–but who are all just trying to get a little better. Maybe.

Amusing, entertaining, and heartfelt to the degree that a movie about a shithead can be, Shortcomings is a worthwhile little film that doesn’t quite break into its own but has plenty to enjoy. Justin H. Min is terrific as Ben; he somehow makes you root for his character, to get absorbed in his actions, even when he plays the guy that would be the loser boyfriend in any story told from the female point of view. Sherry Cola (Joy Ride) is great as his lesbian best friend, while Ally Maki can’t be overlooked.

Greater than any single performance is the cast’s chemistry, powered by a strong script by Adrian Tomine. The cast (which also includes Tavi Gevinson, who deserves her own call-out) play off each other incredibly well, making the most of the small moments in a movie that lives and breathes off small moments.

Shortcomings isn’t a laughfest; despite being billed as a comedy, it’s more drama than anything else. It’s probably not destined to become a cult classic either. But sometimes it’s okay to appreciate movies for what they are (some would argue it’s always okay), and Shortcomings is worthy of appreciation. 

It may also be a movie you can relate to. Having no shortcomings of my own, I can’t. But you probably will.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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