Ping Pong Playa

Jessica Yu's feature directing debut “Ping Pong Playa” is far less interesting than the documentaries she has directed, some of which have been nominated for and won the Oscar Awards.

The movie had its world premiere at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, and has played a number of festivals across the country, and now, a year later, it's getting limited theatrical release.

The film's protagonist is Christopher “C-dub” Wang, a suburban guy who sports an urban swagger, waxes political on all things Asian American, and clings to pipe dreams of a career as a pro basketball player. Blaming genetics for his failure to make the NBA, C-dub lives at home, works a dead-end job, and squirms in the shadow of his older brother, Michael, a doctor and ping pong champion.

With a family-run store devoted to all things ping pong and a mom who teaches it at the local Chinese Community Center, the Wangs entire world revolves around the sport. But despite the family legacy, C-dub opts to spend his free time playing video games and daydreaming about get-rich quick schemes with his best friend JP Money.

C-dub is kicked back into reality when his mom and Michael are hurt in a car accident, leaving his father to watch over the store and forcing C-dub to take over his mom's ping pong class of misfits. C-dub starts to appreciate the benefits of ping pong, when he begins using the class to make some extra money on the side and befriending one of the kids who happens to have a beautiful older sister.

But when the Wang family livelihood is threatened by a rival ping pong players attempts to lure the kids away, C-dub begins to take things more seriously. With the National Golden Cock Tournament coming up and an injured Michael unable to defend his title, C-dub must become the player he pretends to be and defend his family's ping pong dynasty.

Unfotunately, “Ping Pong Playa” is neither exuberant as a competition sports film not absorbing enough as a realistic drama.

“Ping Pong Playa” film stars Jimmy Tsai, Roger Fan, Smith Cho, Elizabeth Sung, Peter Paige and Scott Lowell, all of whom give decent if not great performances.