Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Boogie - Movie Review

The Movie: Boogie

The Director: Eddie Huang

The Cast: Taylor Takahashi, Pamelyn Chee, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Taylour Paige, Perry Yung, Mike Moh, Domenick Lombardozzi

The Story: Coming-of-age story of Alfred "Boogie" Chin, a basketball phenom living in Queens, New York, who dreams of one day playing in the NBA. While his parents pressure him to focus on earning a scholarship to an elite college, Boogie must find a way to navigate a new girlfriend, high school, on-court rivals and the burden of expectation.

The Review:
Whatever this movie is trying to accomplish, it's trying way too hard. I was really looking forward to a thought provoking tale of a Chinese inner city teenager navigating friendships, relationships, family, and a potential career. What I got was an hour and a half of hip hop clich├ęs, overused tropes, a mine field of plot holes, and supporting characters that have less personality than video game NPC's. Also, the on the court basketball scenes are poorly shot and the editing is even worse. So many things about the games and about the movie as a whole just don't make sense.

The one thing I really liked about the movie is the interaction between Boogie and Eleanor played by Taylor Takahashi and Taylour Paige respectively. When Boogie gets nervous and shy around her Eleanor during intimate situation, it's very endearing and thee scenes are easily the most authentic and entertaining moments of the movie. The chemistry they have on screen overcomes the lack of quality dialog and storytelling and I wish there had been more of that over anything else. The rest of the movie is basically a patchwork of moments that worked well in other movies but fall flat here because they are so poorly reimagined.

One of the most confusing things about the movie is when an actual high school basketball game is cancelled because people can't get along but then it is rescheduled for later that night because apparently it needed a street court setting to really drive the point home. The entire cast, including all the people who had been attending the game are somehow transported to this new location, both teams are still in full uniform, and Boogie's parents are now dressed up like they just got out of church. To complete the derailment, Boogie instantly, and mid game, goes through a 180 degree transformation from arrogant and selfish to a team player who's sudden generosity allows the band of misfit young men who can't play a lick of basketball to suddenly become a cohesive championship caliber team.

The rest of the movie was a sloppy mess but this finale never should have made it out of the editing stage or maybe even the initial writing phase. I really wish this movie had been good, the idea had so much potential but what I ended up watching was an R rated version of those afternoon specials we used to watch on TV.

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