“Knots” – 2012 Asian American International Film Festival Review

In “Knots,” Michael Kang – who previously directed “The Motel” and “West 32nd” – delivers a charming, but ultimately uneven tale about marriages, weddings and the tangled messes that result from both.

Kimberly-Rose Wolter plays Lily, a self-absorbed amateur photographer who dismisses the institution of marriage, even throwing up at her boyfriend’s proposal.  While recovering from the fallout, she ends up working for her thrice-divorced mother (Ileana Douglas) who ironically owns a wedding-planning business.  Lily’s two sisters, Twinny (Mia Riverton) and Hoku (Janel Parrish) aren’t exactly thrilled to see their oldest sister in the mix, and events become even more awkward when Lily runs into her ex-boyfriend Kai (Sung Kang of “Better Luck Tomorrow”).

With the picturesque backdrop of Hawai’i and a soothing soundtrack by ukelele stalwart Jake Shimabukuro, “Knots” delivers plenty of moments, including a sarcastically comedic turn by Douglas, who delivers the best performance of the film.  Riverton amuses as the neurotic pregnant middle sister as does Samantha Quan, playing one of the even more neurotic brides-to-be.  However, what nearly derails the film is the lack of chemistry between Lily and Kai, to the point that it isn’t even believable that the two characters once dated.  While a number of mishaps and misunderstandings unfold around them – owing to the movie’s title and proving that tying the knot isn’t a simple matter – it is the relationship between Wolter’s and Kang’s characters that should be most central to the script, but doesn’t play out that way.  Thankfully, the side stories are entertaining enough to make “Knots” worth a watch.

“Knots” is the closing film of the Asian American International Film Festival.  It screens Sun., Aug. 5, at 7 p.m., at the Chelsea Clearview Cinemas in New York. For ticket information, go to asiancinevision.org.