Isle audience is falling for ‘Wedding Palace,’ American-Korean rom-com

Director Christine Yoo invites people everywhere to have fun at a wedding planned by the Kim family. Meet your hilarious hosts when Yoo’s “Wedding Palace,” an award-winning American and Korean wedding comedy for modern lovers, opens Friday at Kaahumanu 6.

Starring Brian Tee, Kang Hye-Jung, Bobby Lee and Margaret Cho, the independent film is coming to Maui after breaking box-office records during a seven-week-and-counting run in Honolulu. After its opening on Maui, the movie is heading to Palace Theater in Hilo and then on to the Philippines.

Shot in Seoul and Los Angeles, the “not foreign” film follows the Kims, “America’s craziest family,” as they set out to marry son Jason (Tee of “Mortal Kombat,” “Wolverine” and “Fast & Furious Tokyo Adrift”) to avoid an ancient curse.

The film is the first feature from writer-director-producer Yoo, a rarity in the industry as an Asian-American, female filmmaker. Yoo, a Los Angeles resident, said the film has special ties to Hawaii, since her mother was born and raised on Oahu, and Yoo has friends and family on many of the Hawaiian Islands, including Maui. “Hawaii has a great appreciation for being global,” Yoo said via telephone Monday. “The food, the culture, the people who visit there . . . I feel like I was very much influenced by growing up there.”

Yoo was born in Iowa and would visit Oahu each summer to see family. Her mother grew up on the pineapple plantations of Oahu, and Yoo’s great-grandfather was among the first wave of Korean immigrants to Hawaii. Asian-immigrant families will relate to the film, but surprisingly, the biggest turnout in California came from the Hispanic audience, Yoo said.

Really, laughter will apply to all ethnic groups, as the funny film takes viewers through slapstick, deadpan and wacky comedic turns. The film debuted Sept. 27 in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Honolulu. Yoo said it has since closed in all areas except for Honolulu.

“It’s done great in Hawaii,” she said. “Most of the other places opened and closed after a few weeks; Hawaii has been going and going.”

“Wedding Palace” won Best Independent Film and Best Cinematography from Cine Gear Expo Film Series, along with the Altanta Korean Film Festival’s Director’s Award and the Chinese American Film Festival’s Best Asian American Film.

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