Above is the trailer for Made In China (which is hosted on Youtube. Yeah, yeah, get a VPN already), a movie about an American novelty goods inventor who comes to the streets of Shanghai to… find crazy stuff made in China? It comes with the following description:
Slinkys, Pet Rocks, Ant Farms… behind each of those great novelties is the story of a great Novelty Inventor. ‘Made In China’ is the story of one such inventor.
Johnson, a self-styled novelty inventor from a small town in East Texas, is determined to bring his big idea – “a humorous domestic hygiene product”- to the world. Johnson’s journey takes him to the Mecca of the novelty world: China, where anything is possible and everything has its price.
Lost in the backstreets of Shanghai, Johnson discovers that it takes more than a million dollar idea to make it to the big time. It takes guts, determination, and a fist full of sneezing powder.
We haven’t seen the movie yet, though the trailer is mildly grating in that “oh god, another fish out of water, lost in translation flick” way and we wonder why he would’ve gone to Shanghai of all places in China. You’d think Shenzhen or those dozens of third- and fourth-tier cities where they actually produce novelty items would’ve been a better bet.
Our sister site Chicagoist actually did see the movie, and they weren’t fans:
Made in China is irritating. Deeply irritating. This movie is more irritating and artificial even than Away We Go, which seems like a piece of neorealism by comparison. It almost completely squanders the goodwill earned from the occasional laugh out loud gag, clever idea or evocative detail by choosing to focus on a protagonist who’s such a lunkhead, he makes Forrest Gump look like Slavoj Žižek.
But then again, it did win the Grand Jury award at SxSW and picked up an Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking at the Newport Beach Film Festival and Audience Award at the Oldenburg International Film Festival, so maybe we’ll save our complete judgment for whenever the cast and crew come back to our shores.