A half-successful Beijing production attempting to dramatize the problems of Chinese-Americans living in mid-America, “The Treatment” hits the mark as a lesson in racial tolerance, until over-the-top scripting defeats the cast’s best efforts to be convincing. Tale of a Chinese nuclear family in St. Louis who loses custody of their son through a misunderstanding looks set for mainly video outings, where it could tune into ethnic auds.
Immigrating to the U.S. with his wife in pursuit of the American Dream, Datong (Tony Leung, of “Love Will Tear Us Apart”) becomes an acclaimed designer of violent vidgames. When his aged father (Zhu Xu), just in from Beijing, performs a painless Chinese remedy on their young son, the Child Welfare Agency mistakes the red welts on his back for child beating. The family is plunged into a nightmarish legal struggle illustrating how insidious the cultural gap can be. Helmer Zheng Xiaolong has a good grasp of both sides, knows how to use a camera and directs a fine cast well, but pic keeps slipping into daytime television scripting, cloying music and finally a very silly ending.