Friday, June 21, 2024

“EXTREMELY UNIQUE DYNAMIC”

THE STORY – During their final weekend together, two best friends test the limits of their friendship while making a double-meta film.

THE CAST – Ivan Leung, Harrison Xu & Hudson Yang

THE TEAM – Katherine Dudas, Ivan Leung & Harrison Xu (Directors/Writers)

THE RUNNING TIME – 92 Minutes


Many beloved films have been made about the art of filmmaking, but has there ever been a movie about people making a movie…about people making a movie…about people making a movie? Probably not. “Extremely Unique Dynamic” is a triple-meta movie about the making of a double-meta movie – and it’s one of its kind. You could even say it’s extremely unique. This meta-Asian-stoner-coming-of-age-bromantic dramedy is, in simple terms, just a super fun time and packed full of heart, exploring a friendship between a straight guy and his gay best friend.

The friendship between Ryan (Harrison Xu) and Danny (Ivan Leung of “Taco Loving Asian Guy” fame) is introduced through the lens of a ’90s camcorder. Most of their memories together in childhood – and today, thanks to YouTube – have been created in front of a camera. So, one weekend, before Ryan moves away to Canada from Los Angeles with his fiance, the pair decide to continue that tradition but take it to the next level: They make a movie.

Filmmaking is what drew them both to Hollywood – and fame, of course. They’ve sought the latter for years, even preparing for their “Hot Ones” interview. They find themselves always going up for the same roles but never end up being the “right” kind of Asian guy. All the industry wants is stereotypical characters or super hot dudes with eight-packs. If Hollywood doesn’t care about representing the regular Asian guys out there, then they’re going to make that movie for them. Ryan and Danny tackle taboos head-on as they make a film that turns out to be way more meta than the concept they present.

What is at first just a movie to never forget the good times leads to personal and vulnerable conversations between the pair, even putting their extremely unique dynamic to the test. Through their film’s meta-ness, the plot and real life begin to blur, and bottled-up secrets and feelings come out. Danny reveals how hurt he feels over what he believes is Ryan abandoning him. At the same time, Danny comes out to Ryan, something he has kept to himself because of how he feared it would change their friendship. Ryan is hurt over Danny and feels like he couldn’t come out to him. All of these things are revealed through the improvisational nature of their film, bringing more nuance to the project.

Xu and Leung, who also co-directed and co-wrote the film alongside Katherine Dudas, imbue this story with such a goofy, fun-loving energy. It’s impossible not to get swept up in this relationship, especially when much of the film is composed of childhood videos. Additionally, the film they’re creating within this one is projected through the lens of the same ’90s video camera that recorded them as kids, creating a personal and authentic feel throughout. There’s so much charm packed into this brisk, comedic package.

Many film lovers will appreciate how “Extremely Unique Dynamic” celebrates indie filmmaking but also its ode to storytelling, the power of it, and the connections it creates. Ryan and Danny call out the silliness of many aspects of filmmaking, like narration, fourth-wall breaks, and celeb cameos, but they also make us realize why we love those things. It also packs some heavy punches when it comes to calling out Hollywood on its representation, or misrepresentation, of Asian people and how studios like those queer dollars in their pocket without actually doing any work.

In “Extremely Unique Dynamic,” the film Ryan and Danny are making may not be any good and may never get anywhere, but it strengthens their friendship more than they could have expected. The theme of friendship is strong here, and, in turn, we can all see ourselves in a story about how film brings people closer together.

THE RECAP

THE GOOD - This is such a fun, goofy little movie about friendship and filmmaking. Comedic and engaging from beginning to end.

THE BAD - The meta-narrative is confusing – even they admit it!

THE OSCAR PROSPECTS - None

THE FINAL SCORE - 7/10

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Sara Clements
Sara Clementshttps://nextbestpicture.com
Writes at Exclaim, Daily Dead, Bloody Disgusting, The Mary Sue & Digital Spy. GALECA Member.

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Latest Reviews

<b>THE GOOD - </b>This is such a fun, goofy little movie about friendship and filmmaking. Comedic and engaging from beginning to end.<br><br> <b>THE BAD - </b>The meta-narrative is confusing – even they admit it!<br><br> <b>THE OSCAR PROSPECTS - </b>None<br><br> <b>THE FINAL SCORE - </b>7/10<br><br>"EXTREMELY UNIQUE DYNAMIC"