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Ping Pong Playa

3.9 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

You'll have a ball with this heartwarming, hilarious comedy! Christopher "C-dub" Wang is a Chinese-American gangsta-rapper wannabe with outrageous, and unlikely, dreams of becoming a pro basketball star. When his ping pong champion brother gets hurt, it's up to C-dub to pick up the paddle and save the family business. But when he's facing off against a devious rival player in the ping pong tournament of the year, will C-dub be up to the challenge? With some surprising help from an unusual group of kids, anything could happen!

Amazon.com

Jessica Yu's Ping Pong Playa is that rare film unlikely to appeal to a director's usual fan base. Best known as a documentary filmmaker, her first feature targets a completely different audience. In it, co-writer/production accountant Jimmy Tsai plays Christopher "C-dub" Wang, a Los Angeles-based, basketball-obsessed, Chinese-American slacker. Chris shares his enthusiasm for urban culture with African-American best friend J.P. Money (Khary Payton). J.P., in turn, has been taking Chinese-language lessons, so the cultural exchange doesn't just run one way. Unfortunately for Chris, his family lives for ping-pong, a pursuit in which he has little interest. When his mother (Elizabeth Sung, The Joy Luck Club) and brother, Michael (Roger Fan, Better Luck Tomorrow), are injured in a minor traffic accident, however, they recruit him to help run their supply store and to teach table tennis at the local community center. Since Chris has just lost a gig hawking cell phones at the mall, he's in no position to decline. Along with some Asian-American youngsters, both Chinese and East Asian, who hunger for a cool role model, Chris changes from the world's laziest human being into something that almost resembles a respectable member of society. With its antic humor and underage hijinks, Yu's self-proclaimed popcorn comedy offers more mainstream appeal than her inventive documentaries In the Realms of the Unreal and Protagonist (she won the Oscar for non-fiction short Breathing Lessons). If the loud-mouthed Chris can be fairly off-putting at first, her affectionate representation of his multicultural world rings true. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Audio commentary with director/co-writer Jessica Yu and actor/co-writer Jimmy Tsai
  • Two Featurettes

Product Details

  • Actors: Jimmy Tsai, Andrew Vo, Khary Payton, Jim Lau, Roger Fan
  • Directors: Jessica Yu
  • Writers: Jimmy Tsai, Jessica Yu
  • Producers: Jimmy Tsai, Anne Clements, Jeffrey Gou, Joan Huang, Mike Gallant
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 6, 2009
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001HB1K00
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,140 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ping Pong Playa" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
First saw this at the Eugene DisOrient Asian Film Festival over a year ago. Funniest movie I've seen in ages. Minimal spoilers below...

This is the story of a younger son in a Chinese-American family who is struggling with his identity and his cultural responsibility. His elder brother is a ping pong champion, and the entire family's finances are contingent on the reputation of the family and their performance at a local ping pong tournament. You can figure out the rest from there.

But this charming, hilarious, incredibly well-thought out movie by relative movie unknowns has more class, humor, and intelligence than most mainstream Hollywood comedies I've seen. The vast majority of the humor is applicable to all races, all cultures, all walks of life... there are a few jokes and intimations specific to the Asian-American community... but I loved this movie so much I pre-ordered the DVD, feeling grateful that it actually made it out of it's film festival beginnings (into limited more mainstream release, but not where I live), onto DVD.

It's based on the classic athletic competition motif. The oppressive, aggressive professional athlete coming to take over small local town ping pong hero. Family obligation. Cultural expectations. Identity/social self-exploration/finding. Touching characters with some depth.

The humor is classy, clever, witty. It is not very subtle, just outright fun. Language is pretty clean for a comedy, but still has quite a bit of profanity (teenage locker room talk) that is partially obscured by the sound of a bouncing ball or ping pong paddle hit or similar as a sort of tongue-in-cheek (ha, that's a pun!) censor. Depending on your sensitivity to this sort of thing, appropriate for teens (13-14+), but prepare to cover the ears of your child if younger. Subject material is otherwise pretty clean, and appropriate for even younger than teenaged kids.

It's a great film, IMO.

-vk
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I purchased this as a gift for someone who wanted it. I have not watched it - but the person who received it LOVES it.
Please keep in mind that the watcher of this movie is about 17 - her Mom wasn't as huge a fan of this as she was. So keep that in mind before viewing. LOL.
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As a ping pong lover with few movies to look for, I was thrilled to find this. But it's just ok.

What I liked:
- Ping pong scenes were ok
- Fun, moved along
- Pretty clean fun

What I didn't like:
- Another victim of Asian identity crisis. The star ping pong player wants to be black. Sigh .... it so sad to see one culture ripping off another culture which I think demeans both cultures.
- How Christopher (main character) turns into this crazy good ping pong player doesn't ring true

SUMMARY: I think they tried hard in this film and although I just think it was ok, I don't think it was a total fail. However, I don't think I would recommend this to anyone to buy, maybe just rent?
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Format: DVD
This movie, starring Jimmy Tsai, is funny and uplifting. It is a unique film that not only I enjoyed, but my children also found it to be an awesome movie! Buy it on DVD, it's great to watch over and over.
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Before Traphik, Wong Fu, or Ryan Higa became household names Jimmy Tsai was already trying to launch Asian-American comedy. Had this movie come out today over the internet, it would have surely been a big hit. Sometimes a bit over the top, but a definitely good comedy with some political undertones to it. Great soundtrack too, featuring Jin, Far-East Movement, and Chops!
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Format: Amazon Video
What a pleasant surprise! Had never heard of this but watched it on a lark and it was really fun. The cast is very likeable, the humor is good-natured, and the overall tone is just goofy and fun. In many ways this reminded me of 80s comedies like Better Off Dead or some of John Hughes stuff like 16 Candles, back when comedies didn't rely on extreme gross-out gags and in-your-face obscenity to generate laughs. In fact, whenever an off-color word or phrase is used in Ping Pong Playa it is effectively bleeped out by the sound of a bouncing ball - a very random running gag that nevertheless made me laugh out loud more than once. In this story about an underachieving wanna-be baller who finally has a shot at redeeming himself in the eyes of his family & his community via a local ping pong competition, you get a nice mix of satire (sports movies get their send-up through the dramatic come-from-behind ping pong tournament climax), cultural humor, very mild family dysfunction, and very mild teen angst as the bases for what ends up being a winning comedy. If you're in the mood for a sweet comedy that forgoes the usual cheap-laughs raunch and succeeds instead with charm and wit, give this one a shot.
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Format: DVD
"Ping Pong Playa" is a hilarious comedy about a Chinese-American 20-something slacker named Chris "C-Dub" Wong who dreams of being a pro basketball player. After losing his minimum wage job at the mall and causing a car accident in which both his mother and older (and very successful) brother are injured, his parents guilt him into teaching a ping pong class at the Chinese community center. In between winning money from his much younger students at ping pong and losing money to adults at basketball, Wong begins training to take his brother's place at the local ping pong tournament.

This movie is entertaining for all audiences, but many of the jokes may be lost on those not familiar with Chinese culture and the Mandarin Chinese language. The movie is in English, but Mandarin is spoken occasionally both by Wong's family and his best friend, an African-American who studies Chinese at the community center.
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