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Combination Platter

3.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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(Jan 11, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

The story of a Chinese restaurant in the New York City area and its employees. One of these workers is Robert, an illegal immigrant, who is desperately seeking a green card. His best route to attain this goal, he admits, is to marry an American woman. Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jeffrey Lau, Coleen O'Brien, Chit-Man Chan, Colin Mitchell, Kenneth Lu
  • Directors: Tony Chan
  • Writers: Tony Chan, Edwin Baker
  • Producers: Tony Chan, Jenny Lee, Judy Moy, Man Fuk Chan, Ulla Zwicker
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Chinese, English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: KOCH LORBER FILMS
  • DVD Release Date: January 11, 2005
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006A9I52
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,193 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Combination Platter" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I love this movie. It is sweet and it is sad and the events could happen at the Chinese (or Mexican or Indian) restaurant around the corner. And, as life has it, whether working at a restaurant or dining there, people can learn that listening to and being honest with the person they enjoy being with can help make their relationship work. Even if they come from different backgrounds and have differences of opinion between them. Right? Sometimes it just takes a little quiet insight (or a fortune cookie) to figure that out.
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Format: VHS Tape
Some of the other reviews compare COMBINATION PLATTER to MARTY. I don't know where this comparison began, but it's not apt. Although both films have to do with ethnic characters, MARTY, by Paddy Chayefsky is more character-driven, while COMBINATION PLATTER, though it follows a single protagonist, works more like an ensemble piece, following the adventures and misadventures of the waiters, cooks, dishwashers, hostess, and owner of a familiar mid-scale Chinese restaurant that caters to a predominently white clientele.

That said, what is strongest about the film is when the filmmaker and camera take us out of the restaurant and into the streets. Anyone who is familiar with Queens will instantly recognize Queens Center, Main Street, and the coup de grace, the old DRAKE movie theater, which was on Woodhaven Blvd, before it went out of business. These settings in and of themselves don't make for a movie, but they lend the film an authenticity of place.

The lead actor is also very convincing and with his muted performance conveys the angst of an immigrant seeking his place in the U.S.

Although the major dramatic question of will this illegal immigrant find a way to stay legally in the U.S. isn't answered at the film's end--the question is actually just dropped and forgotten 2/3 of the way in, the film does a good job of sustaining viewer's interest by picking up various strands of the ensemble drama. Will the hostess learn Chinese? Will the waiter with the gambling problem get caught? etc.

The film works and is an impressive first feature. The question in my mind is, whatever to the director Tony Chan? Has he done other films since? Anyone know?????
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Format: DVD
I am amazed at the many reviewers who dont like it... then it strikes me,

that is precisely what the movie is about!

A Chinese illegal immigrant (Robert) who is seriously worried about survival and staying on in America - like all immigrants including legal ones like myself.

An American woman (Claire) for whom life is about self-fulfillment including a casual romance.

When these two worlds meet, grapple and try to come to terms, it comes apart.

The chinese man works as a waiter in a restaurant and there are true vignettes of chinese restaurant life.

Unwittingly perhaps, the director let on that many Chinese are not very truthful or in their culture it is not valued highly. When Robert (our hero) decides to come clean and honestly tell Claire what he wants, she doesnt recognize it because of the white lies he has told before.

Unfortunately the reviewers below are unable to appreciate the subtleness and some sadness - much like real life. They are like Claire in the movie.

Great movie - could replace Chinese with Indian, Hispanic etc and would in many places still be accurate.
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Format: VHS Tape
This well done film won at Sundance in 1993. If you were to update the film "Marty" and it took place in a chinese resturant, that's what you would get here, a well made film. A great rental, if you can find it.
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Format: VHS Tape
This winner at the Sundance Film Festival in 1993 is a modern day "Marty". It's charm and insight into American life from the perspective of the main character the Waiter, his co workers in the resturant and the American customers, is a funny yet touching look into what it means to someone to be a citzen. The love interest of the main character an American girl he dates to get a green card is hopeful, yet tragic as the two wrolds don't mix. Great supporting performaces all around and The Sundance channel plays this movis every so often. Worth the investment.
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Format: DVD
Although the subject of the film is very timely and contemporary because it deals with illegal immigration, as a whole the film is rather bland. It deals with Robert a Chinese illegal alien trying to get his green card. Robert is a waiter at Szechuan Inn, a Chinese restaurant in Flushing, New York. He saves his pay and tips to send money home to his parents in China. He writes to them regularly and tells them what they want to hear: that he is dating a nice Chinese girl (which happens to be untrue). The restaurant occasionally gets unannounced visits from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services who inspect the premises to round up illegal aliens - so far Robert has managed to elude them. Eventually, Robert hopes to receive his green card so he can remain legally in the U.S. A good friend advises him of his only two options: either his employer needs to sponsor him or he must get married, even if it is a "marriage of convenience" [he pays someone to stay married to him for two years] so he can remain legally.

His friend introduces him to an American Chinese girl who is very outspoken and self-absorbed. She knows no Chinese. They negotiate for her to marry him for the sum of $25,000. Unfortunately, she senses his desperation and refuses, unless he will pay her $50,000. The sum is too large, he can not afford it. The friend provides him another option, date an American woman and try to marry her. Robert finds this choice uncomfortable but he has little choice so he goes along with the plan. He is introduced to Claire, an American young lady who works with computers. Their first date is to a movie, where Robert nearly falls asleep and Claire raves about the film, while Robert agrees with everything she says since he does not remember anything about it.
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