Vancouver Pimps Seattle

by Zbigniew

Finding Mr. Right (aka: Beijing Meets Seattle and Bei Jing yu shang Xi Ya Tu), according to the Internet Movie Database:

“City girl Jiajia is traveling to Seattle to give birth to the son who’s going to help her win over her rich, married boyfriend. Armed with his unlimited credit card and the singular goal of bringing a little U.S. citizen back to Beijing, Jiajia knows how to play this game of modern love. But when Jiajia arrives in Seattle, the city which inspired her favorite movie Sleepless in Seattle, nothing goes right: she’s stuck sharing a small house with two other pregnant ladies, she has trouble reaching her boyfriend on the phone, and eventually, even the credit card stops working. To top that off, the only person willing to spend time with her is her driver Frank. Frank is the opposite of everything she ever wanted in a man … or could he be exactly the kind of guy she really needs?”

A China-produced knock-off of a cliché-addled Hollywood rom-com featuring unlikeable lead characters, Finding Mr. Right comes off as a lifestyle advert targeted at the People’s Republic of the Recently Enriched. At least I think so; I confess I could only endure a few minutes before succumbing to an aesthetic toxic shock.

I risked such exposure following the Globe & Mail’s “Beijing meets Seattle: Rom-com sets off Asian buying spree.” In particular:

“The screenplay for the film (its English title is Finding Mr. Right) could almost have been written by Seattle real estate agents; it was that much of a boon to the market.”

“It was ‘massive advertising, and there has been a lot of response,’ said Dean Jones, chief executive officer of Seattle real-estate company Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, which has a team of agents (the ‘Asia Desk’) fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and other Asian languages to cater to the continuing, broadening influx of buyers.

“Originally from Vancouver, Mr. Jones said that Seattle is following a similar pattern as Vancouver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Vancouver’s reputation as a hedge city, that is, a relatively safe bet for property investors who can afford it, has spilled over to Seattle with its comparatively lower prices (30 to 50 per cent lower than Vancouver, Seattle realtors say).”

While it goes unmentioned in the article, there’s another Vancouver-connection regarding the movie. Other than a few scenes in Beijing, and a very few establishing shots of Seattle, Finding Mr. Right/Beijing Meets Seattle was filmed entirely in and around Vancouver.

So, while real estate shills and pundits and their political affiliates dismiss the influence of Chinese money on the Vancouver market, the city serves as both a discount production centre for extended advertisements of Pacific Northwest Coast property for Mainland China and a source of human capital to serve that market. Beijing meets Seattle, with Vancouver serving as a kind of relationship facilitator. Or pimp, if you prefer.

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Post scriptum:

Finding Mr. Right performer Wei Tang shilling lifestyle at YVR:

Wei Tang Shill