Review: ‘7 Chinese Brothers’ Is Not Your Typical Comedy, And That’s A Good Thing







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Posted September 9, 2015 by

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‘7 Chinese Brothers’ is the story of Larry (Schwartzman). Larry plays by his own rules. He says whatever he wants. He doesn’t really have much direction in life, and he likes it that way. Getting fired from his restaurant job at ‘Buca’ for stealing tips from servers and filling his employee cup with alcohol, Larry is free to roam around and fill his days talking to his dog Arrow (Schwartzman’s real-life pet). He also spends his afternoons visiting his grandmother (Dukakis) in the assisted living home she stays at and taking walks where she insists on telling him how much promise he has and how he can do great things if he would just apply himself. Larry takes her advice about as seriously as he took his job.


This movie doesn’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. It throws away the common structure of a story as we are really just living a few days in this character’s shoes; albeit a highly entertaining and likable character. The only reoccurring theme is his boss from the restaurant, and the server he stole from, pop up every now-and-again to make his life just a little bit worse. The whole film plays out like reading someone else’s journal entry. “Tonight my friend and I went to the bar and played a game where we pretend he’s a doctor. It worked. He got laid. I didn’t like the girl I got stuck with so I left. I have a crush on my boss. I could really use some pills.” As meaningless as it all seems, I found myself highly invested in the normal situations Larry found himself in. It could just be the on-screen power Schwartzman has. In some of his more recent films it feels like he’s almost daring the audience to not like him, or the movie he’s doing, but they do. And they keep coming back for more. He’s able to get more comedic value out of a look, or an action, than most actors get out of an entire script. It’s that finding comedy out of real life situations thing and he does it so well.

The fact that Byington was able to create this film and make it interesting and funny is a testament to his skills. In lesser capable hands, this movie would have fallen apart at the seams. He masterfully holds everything together while allowing the story, the soundtrack, and the cinematography to breathe. Much like Seinfeld, this story was about nothing, and everything.

Go into this film expecting it to not wrap everything up for you or clearly outline which characters you should root for and which ones you shouldn’t. There isn’t a problem that needs to be solved or a happy ending that you’re looking for. There isn’t a girl he needs to get or a past sin he needs to atone for. This film is just what it is; take it or leave it.





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