Basketball is no laughing matter in the coming-of-age drama “Boogie”. Boogie Chin (Taylor Takahashi) is a basketball prodigy playing on his mediocre team at his New York high school. His dream is to play in the NBA, but uncertainty over his college prospects makes Boogie’s future a constant topic of home negotiation. Boogie’s mom wants security and his dad wants to keep dreaming. Boogie wants to prove himself to anyone who thinks he’s not worth the investment.
As the family prepares for Boogie’s showdown with local basketball star Monk (Bashar “Pop Smoke” Jackson, in his first and final movie role), Boogie reflects on his future and what it means to be. a Chinese-American man.
“Boogie” is a confident feature debut by writer and director Eddie Huang, who is best known for creating the sitcom “Fresh Off The Boat”. But “Boogie” bears little resemblance to that great earlier comedy. Boogie takes himself and his basketball ambitions seriously. And, drawing inspiration from its protagonist, the film doesn’t play with craftsmanship or cinematic technique either.
The images in this film don’t haunt or linger in the imagination, but Huang strives to keep them fresh. The film is full of rich colors, soft lighting, and visually balanced frames. The characters flex in color-blocked jerseys and sparkly chains, and the basketball games are well choreographed.
The seriousness of the film has its drawbacks. There is a sense of hard posture in Boogie as a character that the film also displays. And while that gives Boogie the space to be introspective about his identity, he’s less regarded when it comes to his black characters. It’s a competent film, but it doesn’t quite make it through the big leagues.
R rated for language and sexual references. Duration: 1 hour 38 minutes. In theaters. Please review the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies in theaters.