Rather than a lazy farce relying on cheap laughs at the expense of elderly people, Lucky Grandma is a smart black comedy that serves as a poignant character study.
Director Sasie Sealy (who co-wrote the script with Angela Cheng) builds her feature debut around a memorable grouch, Grandma Wong (Tsai Chin), whose fortune changes when a huge amount of money literally falls into her lap.
Before her inadvertent payday, Wong spends her days in New York City’s Chinatown going to tai chi sessions, haggling with merchants for groceries and doting over her grandchildren. She’s also trying to keep her independence by staying in her small apartment rather than accept her son’s invitation to move in with his family.
But Grandma Wong’s luck isn’t really so good. The money she found belongs to a Chinatown gang. After being harassed by two thugs, Wong goes to the rival Red Dragon crew for protection. But her insistence on keeping the cash costs her oafish bodyguard, Big Pong (Hsiao-Yuan Ha), and her grandson (Mason Yam) their innocence.
Lucky Grandma is a clever spin on the crime caper genre, thanks to Chin’s wonderfully cranky performance and Sealy trusting her warped morality tale to play out to its natural end.
Available to rent starting May 22 via fineartstheatre.com and grailmoviehouse.com