Ping Pong Playa DVD Review
By Kam Williams
Cross-Cultural Comedy about Aspiring Asian-American Hoop Star Comes to DVD
C-Dub (Jimmy Tsai) has dropped out of school to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA. So, the teen fritters away his future playing ball in the park, instead of concentrating on getting a good education. He's even quit his job at the mall because he sees menial work as beneath him.
The slacker's story would probably be unremarkable, if he were just another kid trying to make it out of the ghetto based on his basketball skills alone. But C-Dub's happens to be a Chinese-American, and he isn't from the slums but an upscale L.A. suburb. Consequently, his frustrated parents can't comprehend how one of their sons could become a doctor (Roger Fan) while the other would be an irresponsible, Peter Pan with a basketball Jones.
For C-Dub is a trash-talking wannabe, who walks, talks and dresses like a hip-hop gangsta, even when he's away from the court. The question to be answered is whether he will ever mature and bring honor instead of disgrace upon his embarrassed relatives.
This is the prevailing theme of Ping Pong Playa, an engaging cross-cultural comedy which milks most of its humor by taking a lighthearted look at what it's like to be raised Asian in the United States. For the picture's protagonist is as much running away from the pressure to overachieve academically as he is attracted to the more mellow alternatives he perceives in the African-American community.
The plot thickens when C-Dub finds himself falling for Jennifer (Smith Cho), a beautiful a Ph.D. student he'll have to clean up his act to impress. At this juncture, Ping Pong Playa morphs into a transparent romance flick featuring a refreshingly appealing parade of well-developed, Asian-American characters who make the movie enjoyable by turning an array of common cinematic stereotypes on their heads.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, sexual dialogue and drug references.
In English and Cantonese with subtitles.
Running time: 96 minutes
Studio: Image Entertainment
DVD Extras: Audio commentary with director Jessica Yu and co-star Jimmy Tsai, two featurettes, a theatrical trailer and more.
To see a trailer of Ping Pong Playa,
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