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September 02, 2008

Year of the Fish

Fish "Year of the Fish" is a tawdry tale about a Chinese immigrant girl sold into Manhattan massage parlor servitude. Although writer/director David Kaplan attempts to elevate his amateur narrative attempt with the same rotoscoping animation technique that Richard Linklater used to great effect with "Waking Life" and "A Scanner Darkly," the effect comes across as overwrought. Inspired by the Cinderella fairytale Kaplan follows young Ye Xian (An Nguyen) as she enters New York's Chinatown world of happy-endings where she refuses to engage in polishing any knobs. The parlor's owner Mrs. Su (Tsai Chin) punishes Ye by making her responsible for cleaning every inch of the establishment. A hunchbacked witch adds a touch of magical realism by giving Ye a goldfish that will bring her good fortune. But the only good fortune audiences will find lies in skipping this sorry tale.

(Gigantic Pictures) Not Rated. 96 mins. (C-) (Two Stars)

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