China dreams fail to strike a chord

China dreams fail to strike a chord
NEW DREAM TEAM: American Dreams In China tells the rags-to-riches story of three Chinese college students, Tong Dawei, Huang Xiaoming and Deng Chao.

AMERICAN DREAMS IN CHINA (PG 13)

Drama/107 minutes

Rating: 3/5

SINGAPORE - Acclaimed Hong Kong director Peter Chan's movie American Dreams In China is one tailored for the mainland Chinese audience.

Released in China in May, the rags-to-riches film topped the box office, raking in a whopping 535 million yuan (S$110 million) and beating Hollywood blockbuster hit Iron Man 3.

Now, as it hits the big screen here, it's easy to see the reason for its stellar takings in China.

The movie, which has racked up six nominations for this year's Golden Rooster Awards - China's equivalent of the Oscars, and the results of which will be revealed next week - is peppered with elements that would resonate with the Chinese people, such as events that actually happened in China and aspirations towards the shiny American Dream.

Here, that ever-elusive dream is pursued by three Chinese college students - timid country boy Cheng Dongqing (Huang Xiaoming), free-spirited Wang Yang (Tong Dawei) and the go-getting Meng Xiaojun (Deng Chao).

As the plot unfolds, however, the movie becomes less about the good ol' US of A and more about the unabashed pride of the Chinese.

The trio's plans for America fall through and they end up making it big in their own home country by banking on the shared American dreams of their countrymen.

They set up a school (aptly named New Dream) teaching English to Chinese students, and even provide coaching sessions for those who hope to ace the American Visa interview.

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