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Starring Jerry as Himself

Directed by Law Chen

Grand Jury Prize, Audience Award, 2023 Slamdance Film Festival

“Better a poor life than a rich death.” So Jerry has always told himself – since moving to America, to working as an engineer for 40 years, to raising three boys. Always a saver, never a spender, he now sits on a nest egg in retirement, though you couldn’t tell from his old clothes and decrepit Orlando apartment. Still living that poor life.

One day, he gets a call from T-Mobile saying that his cell service is about to be cut off because he’s being investigated in China. It seems somebody’s been impersonating him in a money laundering scheme. At first, Jerry was just trying to save his phone plan. Now he’s fighting extradition to a place he hasn’t been to in years. With no other choice, he cooperates with the Shanghai police, whose officers send him on one mission after another to clear his name. Or so he thinks.

A film of sleights of hand and tugging of the nerves, STARRING JERRY AS HIMSELF is the American dream refracted through fantasy, documentary, and the magic of moviemaking. It’s also a taut little thriller of men trying to outsmart each other, and an immigrant’s anxieties about not just America but an intimidating, faraway China. There are dopey but lovable sons and an ex-wife with bling empire dreams. And of course, there is Jerry himself, a kind soul for whom a stray phone call and the promise of adventure filled a hole in his languishing Florida retirement.
-Brian Hu

Admission includes outdoor pre- and post-screening receptions.


Co-presented by House of China – San Diego.

Dates & Times


UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley

Thu, Apr 20
7:00 pm