Review: Front Cover

Directed by Ray Yeung, Front Cover follows the story of Ryan (Jake Choi) an openly gay man who rejects his traditional Asian upbringing to pursue a career as a fashion stylist in the city. When assigned to stylist Ning (James Chen), a famous Chinese actor, for an important photo shoot for his firm, things are shaken up for Ryan as Ning displays blatant homophobia and other conflicting opinions. As the story goes on, the two find a connection neither of them expected.

From L to R: Ning (James Chen) and Ryan (Jake Choi) with orange juice in Ray Yeung's FRONT COVER
From L to R: Ning (James Chen) and Ryan (Jake Choi) with orange juice in Ray Yeung’s FRONT COVER

As far as rom-coms go, I like mine with a perfect mix of “rom” and “com” and I think Front Cover delivered on that. Where it fell, however, was the characters. Towards the beginning, when they weren’t blatantly flirting with each other, I felt as though the relationship between Ning and Ryan was a little too stilted. This picked up along the way as they got closer and the ball really got rolling around the midpoint when they got together. I think the movie did a good job of not dragging out the duo not liking each other for long because otherwise, I would have lost interest.

It’s strange how hard it is to see actual Asian actors playing Asian roles in Hollywood films, but alas it’s something we face. With a fresh-faced, but talented cast Front Cover proves just how much representation matters. In this movie, Ryan ironically utters the line “how big can a Chinese movie get?” And I think Front Cover has the potential to get pretty big, at least in the rom-com world.

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