Ping Pong Playa

Few Asian American films break out of the festival circuits. When one does it's always a cause for celebration. One of my favorites in recent years continues to be Charlotte Sometimes by Eric Byler.

Ping Pong Playa is the new film by Jessica Yu. It's the story of a suburban slacker Christopher "C-Dub" Wang. Wang dreams of being a pro b-ball player, but blames his Chinese genetics for not reaching his goal.

Wang's family runs a store selling all things ping pong, while his mom teaches the sport at the local Chinese Community Center. When his mom and brother, Michale, end up in a car accident, C-Dub takes over as the teacher for his mom's class. And with Michael's injuries preventing him from entering the National Golden Cock Tournament, C-Dub must steps in to take over his family's ping pong dynasty.

The thing that makes Ping Pong Playa interesting is how it plays with the genre of the sport competition, as well as dealing with the racial politics of ping pong. All within the structure of the comedy.

If you are sensitive about hearing Asian jokes made by Asians in a movie, then this one is not for you. Personally these types of jokes are only funny when the group in question is flipping them. Otherwise they are just plain offensive.

Case in point: Rush Hour.

Ever wonder why they weren't able to reduce Bruce Lee into a Chinese immigrant with a funny accent in the movies, but they were able to do it with Jackie Chan?

'Nuff said. Go see Ping Pong Playa. It's currently screening at the Edwards University Towne Center 6 on the UC Irvine campus.

–James

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