Ideally timed for Valentine's weekend consumption, the immensely likable "Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong" is a freshly contemporary change-up on the traditional cross-cultural romantic-comedy.
Taking place over the course of two nonconsecutive evenings on the bustling streets of Hong Kong, Emily Ting's first feature introduces Ruby (Jamie Chung), a Chinese American toy designer visiting from L.A., to longtime Hong Kong resident Josh (Bryan Greenberg), a transplanted Jewish New Yorker working in finance.
Unsure of her bearings, Ruby takes the affable American ex-pat up on his offer to chaperone her to her destination, but along the way it's clear from the playful, instant ease between them that something is clicking — that is, until Josh lets slip that his girlfriend is waiting for him at her birthday party.
With the emphasis on casual, natural conversation while strolling through an exotic city, Ting's affection for Richard Linklater's "Before Sunrise" trilogy is evident, but there's nevertheless an organic, entirely convincing chemistry between the self-possessed, acerbic Chung and the charming Greenberg that's a rare rom-com commodity.
As the vibrant nightlife (richly photographed by Josh Silfen) unfurls around them, subtly yet palpably urging them into uncertain emotional territory, "Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong" —the title refers to the city's fast-forward pace — allows the appreciative viewer to tag along for the lovely excursion.
'Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong'
Running time: 1 hour, 18 minutes
Playing: Laemmle's Playhouse 7, Pasadena. Also on VOD