Main cast: Chris McNally (Jean “John” Jardine), Kent S Leung (Jack), McKenzi Scott (Vivienne), Drummond Macdougall (Renard Jardine), Selena Mia (Candice), Aurora Chan (Angela), Alvin Tran (Marco Chow), and Jag Bal (Paul)
Director: Monika Mitchell
John is the son of a very wealthy restaurateur, and he describes himself very accurately as a male slut who is used to getting everything he wants in life. When he discovers his childhood friend Jack working as a chef in the restaurant he is managing (Jack has been working there for years, but John is too busy doing other things to notice), he is intrigued. Jack wants John to look over a proposal of his, in hope of persuading John or John’s father Renard to invest in a Chinese restaurant Jack is hoping to set up, but with John being who he is, Jack ends up believing that John doesn’t care at all. John does care… maybe a little. Well, at least he cares enough to feel irritated when Jack shows up at the family dinner with John’s previously estranged sister Vivienne. It turns out that Jack is the father of Vivienne’s son… and they are getting married!
John’s nonsense soon gets him deliberately barred from the family money and everything else his father is paying for, and he eventually ends up staying at – yes, you guess it, Jack’s place. But even as John slowly realizes that he is falling for Jack, it may be too late for him. For so long, Jack has pined after John, but now, it looks like he’d given up on John and is instead hoping to start his own restaurant. If marrying Vivienne is the means to secure the funds to do it, so be it.
I have to hand it to the people behind this movie: they have picked two very attractive men to play the lead roles. Chris McNally brings appropriate swagger to play a very irresponsible but exasperatingly charming jackass, while Kent S Leung is… oh, I just can look at him all day, and maybe longer. And Drummond Macdougall is so pretty! Anyway, while there is plenty of pretty to spread around in this movie, the acting can be wooden, however, and Mr McNally and Mr Leung are often better off just being quiet and looking hot on screen.
The script, like John, has its charming moments and some clever lines, but taken as a whole, it is clunky, preachy, and even pretentious. Most of the female characters are reduced to being fruit flies and wise matchmakers, while Renard is basically a mouthpiece for tolerance, acceptance, and growing up. The most thankless role goes to McKenzi Scott, whose Vivienne is an inconsistent mess, going from best friend to selfish user to fruit fly queen, depending on the mood and whim of the script writers. John’s epiphany comes with interminable stilted monologues that feel more like a rehearsed speech than natural, spontaneous conversation. The movie becomes a cloying, contrived mess when almost everyone else conspires to get John and Jack together.
It’s a pity that the movie doesn’t trust John and Jack to get together on their own free will, because both characters are actually quite interesting in their own right. It is always nice to see a douchebag fall in love and become an utter fool in the process, while Jack is no saint: underneath his nervous and self-effacing exterior, he is as selfish as John in his own way when it comes to getting what he wants. Too bad these two characters are wasted, thanks to a banal script that aims for pretentious malarkey and eye-rolling, heavy-handed preachy moments.
Oh, and don’t be fooled by the movie poster: there is minimal flesh on display here – the most skin on display comes from Alvin Tran, who plays the hilariously offensive slutty ladyboy stereotype Marco. Marco is a one-note punchline, but somehow he steals every scene he is in.
John Apple Jack is a pretty dire movie at the end of the day. Still, maybe it’s worth watching at least once, if only to appreciate all the pretty men on the screen.
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