Reality of the 'American Dream'

Reality of the 'American Dream'

Local director Peter Chan's feel-good film about China's young entrepreneurs, American Dreams in China, begins in 1985. Bookish country boy Cheng Dongqing (Huang Xiaoming), sensitive poet Wang Yang (Tong Dawei) and ambitious Meng Xiaojun (Deng Chao) are university buddies. Like many their age, they believe that going abroad guarantees a good future.

But only Meng gets to have a go at the American Dream. Cheng, who gets laid off and is repeatedly rejected by the United States immigration, enlists Wang to kick-start his English tutorial school, aptly named New Dream.

Meanwhile, Meng has been struggling to make ends meet. He returns to China to join his old friends at their booming business. And as films like this go, the trio's relationship fractures. Their bond is tested by money, power and ambition.

As in many of Chan's previous films, the director cleverly inserts references to some of China's important historical moments into the script.

Despite being over-the-top at times, it is still an enjoyable rags-to-riches story that captures the restlessness of China under economic reform.

But a major disappointment is the portrayal of Americans as stereotypically arrogant and prejudiced, which seems like an effort to please mainland audiences.

YP Rating: 3/5

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