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Ping Pong Playa Movie Review

The IFC feature film Ping Pong Playa starring Jimmy Tsai hits theatres September 5.
Courtesy of IFC/Cherry Sky Films
The IFC feature film Ping Pong Playa starring Jimmy Tsai hits theatres September 5.
Courtesy of IFC/Cherry Sky Films
Ping Pong Playa Movie Review - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Sep 03, 2008
( Rating: 4 Star Rating)

What happens when a Chinese-American kid with dreams of being a basketball player is forced to teach and play the family game—ping pong? Kidzworld finds out by becoming a Ping Pong Playa.

What happens when a Chinese-American kid with dreams of being a basketball player is forced to teach and play the family game—ping pong? Kidzworld finds out by becoming a Ping Pong Playa.

Hoop Dreams

Christopher “C-Dub” Wang is a slacker who who has dreams of playing in the NBA. He struggles with his Chinese-American identity and living up to his parents expectations, especially in comparison to his older brother, who’s a doctor and ping pong champion. When he’s not sleeping, watching cartoons, or eating cereal, C-Dub is shooting hoops with the kids outside the Chinese Community Centre where his mother teaches ping pong classes. But when his mother and brother are injured in a car accident[/KWLINK], C-Dub is suddenly faced with a disturbing possibility—teaching ping pong!

Know When to Fold ‘Em

At first, C-Dub hates his new life at the community centre, especially because of two annoying ping pong champs he has to share the space with. But he has a natural skill for ping pong, and when one of his students, Felix, starts paying him to play, C-Dub begins enjoying the game. The neighboring table tennis champs, however, are starting a ping pong school of their own, and are trying to get C-Dub’s students to cross over. At the same time, C-Dub starts scoping out a pretty girl—who, it turns out, is Felix’s sister.

Ping Pong for Life

With the big Golden Cock Ping Pong Tournament on the horizon, and with his bro still injured, C-Dub decides that he should challenge his brother’s long standing title (as his brother points out, when he wins the tournament, people take his mother’s classes, which pays the family’s bills). C-Dub starts to train, which means less sleeping, more concentration, and paying Felix back for all the games he challenged him to. But is a little more focus all it will take for C-Dub to win against the student-stealers? Will he get the girl? And will C-Dub stick to his former love of basketball, or is ping pong the way of the future?

The Bottom Line

Ping Pong Playa is a really funny, honest look at growing up, following your dreams, and how our dreams sometimes change when we look at who we are. C-Dub (played by Jimmy Tsai, who is awesome in his first movie role) is a great character, and manages to portray a Chinese guy who’d rather be black without making it a stereotype. Go see Ping Pong Playa with your family, because that’s what this movie is really about!

Rating: 4



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