2 out of 5 stars
THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE Hai Yen, left, lounges with ex-flame Dan Pham.

It doesn’t take long to figure out that the newlyweds in Bui Thac Chuyn’s dysfunctional-matrimony melodrama may not be a perfect match. Sure, a lot of grooms like the taxi-driving Hai (Duy Khoa Nguyen) get blitzed on their wedding night, and Duyen (Hai Yen) isn’t the first spouse to feel she’s been conned. But after this couple quickly discovers that they have zero sexual chemistry, the notion that Duyen will search for solace elsewhere is a given. The prime candidates: an ex-girlfriend (Dan Pham) who still carries a torch for the bisexual bride (when thanked for a nightgown, the former flame says she’ll get Duyen an even more beautiful one “when you get divorced”—ouch!); and Tho (Johnny Nguyen), the ex’s rough-trade lover. Meanwhile, Hai is eyeing a young working girl living across the street, who’s got literal and figurative daddy issues galore.

If nothing else, Chuyn has named the film accurately: The movie has a tendency to favor languid pacing over everything else. But neither its atmospherics nor the breaking of Vietnamese cinema’s taboo attitude toward homosexuality can compensate for what feels like a pointless, halfhearted attempt at a South Asian Scenes from a Marriage. (Opens Thu; MoMA.)—David Fear

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