“Ktown Cowboys,” which follows the misadventures of five best pals and Asian American archetypes, often comes off as a guided tour of Koreatown rather than an immersive, lived-in residency.
With appearances by Ken Jeong and Daniel Dae Kim called in as favors, the film doesn’t seem to reciprocate that community support. A Greek chorus sporadically breaks the fourth wall to guide viewers as it trails the KoreAm frat pack navigating such cultural oddities as Korean saunas, after-hours hangouts, “booking clubs” and “host bars.” It’s true that Ang Lee has also served up Oriental exoticism in pandering to non-Asian audiences (most notably with “Eat Drink Man Woman”), but never to the extent that Daniel Park does in his first feature.
Recycling punch lines from the eponymous 2010 Web series that serves as its basis, the film persistently misses the mark as a raunchy comedy amid all the side commentaries and Park’s earnest tone. Yet it’s equally clumsy at making sense of its portrayals of the indignities that Asian Americans routinely endure.
MPAA rating: R, for language throughout, sexual content and brief graphic nudity.
Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes.
Playing: CGV Cinemas, Koreatown, Los Angeles.