Saturday, June 28, 2014

REVIEW: Ping Pong Summer

Ping Pong Summer

Marcello Conte, Myles Massey


June 6, 2014 (VOD/LIMITED)

Michael Tully

Gravitas Ventures

1 hour 31 minutes



If you can imagine a three-way combination of "The Karate Kid," "Balls of Fury," and "The Way, Way Back," but take out about half of the heart and entertainment present in these films, then you would basically have "Ping Pong Summer."  The film takes place in 1985, and the story is about a kid going to Ocean City, MD during the summer and plans to fight against a local bully in a game of ping pong while juggling friends, crushes, and summer fun at the same time.  There were times in this movie where I did smile and was having a nice time watching it.  However, there were more times where I was just thinking "Wow, this is so stupid and predictable."

The kid actors in the film, for the most part, is incredibly subpar.  Marcello Conte, playing the film's protagonist, is not only a remotely uninteresting character, but the performance overall felt flat and is pretty mediocre when compared to other kid actors in coming-of-age summer movies out and about.  In fact, most of the performances in this film felt uninspired and really bland aside from Susan Surandon, who really was doing her best with the material she was given.  It's a shame because if the filmmakers behind this movie actually tried to make a film with clever humor and an original story, then maybe this could have been great.  This is the type of movie that will mostly be appreciated by the kids of the 1980s, though that's only because of the nostalgia factor that this film has.

Speaking as a child of the late 90s/early 2000s, I have to say that not much hit for me in "Ping Pong Summer."  Sure there were some funny jokes and a decent performance from Susan Surandon, but everything felt so generic and forced that it took me out of the film entirely.  The kid actors, though it seemed like they were trying, did not do a good job with this material, and as first time actors in an indie film like this, show that they're not up to par with other child actors working today.  Not to mention, the film as a whole felt so dumb and stupid, making me wonder what the director's motive was to make the film.

If you're a kid who grew up in the 1980s, chances are you will enjoy this for the nostalgia factor.  If you're anyone who was born after the 80s, then chances are that, like me, you won't relate to the characters or the story and instead see the film as a generic movie with generic characters and dumb humor, despite some of it getting a couple of chuckles out.  Movies like "Hot Tub Time Machine" have shown how to make a film that not only makes fun of the 80s, but also pays homage to it in the best sense.  This one lacked the making fun of it factor, which overall made me not enjoy "Ping Pong Summer" as a whole.

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