Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Made on the proverbial shoestring, Combination Platter represents the directorial debut of 23-year-old Tony Chan. Himself a Hong Kong émigré, Chan draws from his own experiences in detailing the tribulations of illegal immigrant Robert (Jeff Lau), who takes a low-paying job at a Szechuan restaurant in New York (the film was shot in the restaurant owned by Chan's parents!). Robert would like to attain U.S. citizenship and has been told that this will be possible if he marries an American girl. Frightened at this prospect -- -especially since it will set him back 25,000 dollars -- Robert nonetheless scurries about to "Americanize" himself in as short a time as possible. (Did you know that tipping the waiter is considered an insult in China?) The plot is secondary to the film's atmosphere and ambience: the dialogue flows so naturally from the restaurant's patrons and employees that one is hard pressed to believe that a written script (by Tony Chan and Edwin Baker) actually existed. Combination Platter received mainstream distribution after its Best Screenplay award win at the 1993 Sundance Festival.
Asian [nationality], illegal-alien, restaurant, waiter, America, culture [social culture], friendship, girlfriend, busboy, green-card, marriage-of-convenience, China