CAAMFest 2024 Review: EXTREMELY UNIQUE DYNAMIC, When BFFs Test the Limits of Friendship

Harrison Xu and Ivan Leung star in a friendly, funny movie that plumbs the depths of friendship, written and directed by Xu, Leung, and Katherine Dudas.

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas, US (@peteramartin)
CAAMFest 2024 Review: EXTREMELY UNIQUE DYNAMIC, When BFFs Test the Limits of Friendship

Best friends decide to make a movie celebrating their friendship, which is not as easy as it sounds.

Extremely Unique Dynamic
The film screens at CAAMFest 2024 in San Francisco at The Roxie Theater, tomorrow, May 11, at 7PM and will also be playing next at Inside Out Toronto at TIFF Lightbox 3 on Saturday, May 25, at 7PM. Visit the official site for much more information.

Knowing that your best friend since childhood will be moving away is one thing. Actually dealing with it is another.

Ryan (Harrison Xu) and Danny (Ivan Leung) are spending the weekend together in Los Angeles before Ryan moves away to Edmonton, Alberta, to marry his girlfriend and start a new family. The two moved to Hollywood to pursue acting careers, with limited success over the years. Ryan has decided to focus on the marketing business, a field in which he has already been working, and quit acting, leaving Danny adrift and unsettled.

Since childhood, Ryan and Danny have been inseparable friends, and have long recorded their antics on camcorders and the like. So making a movie together feels like a fitting final gesture, even if nothing more comes of it, as the conclusion of an important chapter in both their lives.

Throughout the early scenes, the comic tone is bright and sassy. Capturing a close friendship between two people on screen is never as easy as it might sound. Even two people who deeply love one another might fail to display sparks in front of a camera.

Happily, that's not the case here. Harrison Xu and Ivan Leung sparkle in their chemistry together. They are both funny people who can elicit laughter through their body language and their sharp, timely delivery of sly comic observations and witty banter.

When the material inevitably deepens, as it must to get under the surface of a friendship at a turning point, they adroitly handle the curves as the narrative smoothly shifts through different gears. The film is never entirely without humor, nor does it dive too deeply into weightier matters, yet it always feels fresh in presenting a friendship from a perspective -- two Asian men in the lead roles, and it's not an action movie -- that has rarely been brought to the screen.

Smartly and sharply directed by Harrison Xu, Ivan Leung and Katherine Dudas, Extremely Unique Dynamic is an adorable, affable stoner-buddy comedy that penetrates deeper than might be expected.

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Harrison XuIvan LeungKatherine Dudas. CAAMFest 2024

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