Boogie Isn’t Quite A Slam Dunk

Taylor Takahashi stars as Boogie and Pop Smoke as Monk in director Eddie Huang’s BOOGIE, a Focus Features release. Credit: David Giesbrecht / Focus Features

Boogie, the new film from Fresh Off the Boat producer Eddie Huang, follows Alfred “Boogie” Chin as he dreams of playing in the NBA.

To my fellow Kentucky Wildcats fans, this isn’t a documentary or biopic about DeMarcus Cousins.  As a Wildcats fan, I feel it is necessary to let you know.  Sorry, not sorry.  Not a Wildcats fan?  Move along, move along.

As if writer-director Eddie Huang doesn’t have enough to do behind the camera, he also co-stars as Jackie.  But this film isn’t about him.  No, it’s about Queens basketball player Boogie Chin (Taylor Takahashi) wanting to make his own way.  Unfortunately, this also means going against his parents’ (Perry Yung and Pamelyn Chee) dreams of seeing him earn a college scholarship.  Parents just want the best for their children but this is also the source of drama and flashbacks.  Being in a new school brings more than enough headaches.  Throw in girlfriend Eleanor (Taylour Paige), a rivalry with Monk (Pop Smoke), and well, expectations in general.

There are more than enough sports movie clichés in Boogie.  This goes without saying.  There’s a trick that goes into getting the right amount of basketball and drama.  You either have it or you don’t.  However, this is also what prevents Huang from ultimately making the slam dunk.  One thing that might bring in viewers is the on-screen representation.  Going along with what was said during a Q&A I watched back in October, we need to see more of these stories being told from a different perspective.  The representation isn’t where I have a problem with the film.  No, it comes with the execution elsewhere.  While the film is short at an hour and a half, it would probably have benefited from being a few more minutes longer.  There’s not enough basketball here to satisfy sports fans.

Boogie needs to decide whether it wants to be a family drama or a sports movie.

DIRECTOR:  Eddie Huang
CAST:  Taylor Takahashi, Pop Smoke, Taylour Paige, Eddie Huang, Pamelyn Chee, Domenick Lombardozzi, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Mike Moh, Perry Yung

Focus Features opens Boogie in theaters on March 5, 2021.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.