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Pet Sins September 2001

Catfish in Black Bean Sauce

Catfish in Black Bean Sauce is the directorial debut of Asian American actor Chi Muoi Loi. Like the earlier Fakin' Da Funk (1998), Catfish in Black Bean Sauce (2000) is a story of a Black American family with Asian adoptive children. Catfish in Black Bean Sauce, an award winner at 3 film festivals , surpassed Fakin' Da Funk with its broad humor and a strong stellar cast.

The Plot:

An African American serviceman (Paul Winfield) stationed in Vietnam adopts 2 Vietnamese siblings and brings them back to America. The older child Mai (Lauren Tom) refuses to bond with the serviceman's wife (Mary Alice). Her younger brother, Dwayne (Chi Muoi Loi) sees their adoptive mother as the only mother he knows.Despite its limited release, Catfish in Black Bean Sauce was received warmly by both reviewers and audiences. With it humorous, yet poignant portrayal of the relationship between a not-so-confident Dwayne and his tall, beautiful black fiancee (Sanaa Lathan), Catfish in Black Bean Sauce joins the ranks of those few films featuring black-woman-Asian-man romances. Although many viewers enjoyed this movie, Catfish in Black Bean Sauce has been criticized by some for its portrayal of Dwayne as the insecure Asian male whose constant worry that he is not "good enough" for his fiancee leads him to push her away. Chi Muoi Loi's character is quite unlike his counterpart Julian in Fakin' Da Funk. Julian, an Asian adopted in infancy by an African American family, is confident, smooth with the girls, and unapologetically black.