July 8, 2009 § 1 Comment
Out of sheer boredom, I decided to choose one of my many bookmarked movies to watch after brushing my teeth last night. I randomly chose Ping Pong Playa — I had never heard of it before coming across it while browsing the site, but a friend recently mentioned that he liked it, so I gave it a try.
Despite the cheesy trailer, I was richly rewarded for the next 1.5 hours. This is, hands down, one of the best Asian-American movies that I have ever seen, as well as one of the funniest films I’ve watched in a long time. I was seriously afraid that I would wake up my family with my laughing.
One thing I greatly appreciated is that everybody speaks the same kind of Chinese to an understandable extent, which is very rare in films that are produced in America. Some of the reviews on Facebook bemoan the use of cliché stereotypes, and I would agree that they are definitely in there. However, there is a difference in the way that they are used in Ping Pong Playa, which is from a viewpoint that understands the stereotype. After all, stereotypes are usually based in some truth, and I did not feel like the Chinese characters misrepresented Chinese people [the douchebag villain and his stupid sidekick were kind of pushing it, but it is a comedy after all]. More successful siblings, gossiping mothers, filial pride and shame — these are a part of the daily life of a 1.5 or 2nd generation Chinese-American, and they are all present in the movie.
On a more personal note, I was very relieved that there was not a big romantic subplot. My love for this film would have decreased by 50%. Also, a friend told me that the protagonist, Jimmy Tsai, is in his 40s [the internet cannot confirm this]. I would believe it, though, having just recently learned that John Cho is freaking 37 [he could pass as 24]. I love that Asians age well; that is a stereotype in which I would be glad to participate.