A deep dive into the cultural pressures of Asian Americans and an intimate portrait of a father pushing his son to achieve, Boogie falls flat early on and never quite recovers.
Written and directed by Eddie Huang (Fresh Off the Boat), teenager Alfred “Boogie” Chin (Taylor Takahashi) has dreams of playing in the NBA, a new girlfriend, high school pressures, and his parents wanting him to secure a scholarship to go to an elite college… all of which he must balance. Aside from Pamelyn Chee’s turn as Boogie’s mother, as well as the late Pop Smoke’s limited role, the acting throughout is subpar, leading to awkward interactions and lulls in story development that the film never recovers from. The entire story plays as though it is a teenage drama from the early 2000s where the main character needs to win “the big game.” Aside from the family drama that highlights divisions between Boogie’s mother and father, the singular focus rips the film of any drama and fails to capture the emotion it seems to be working towards.
Huang brings unique authenticity to the stories that he tells and Boogie is no different, as much as the film doesn’t execute on it. Chin himself fails to carry the film and, as the lead, that is an unfortunate misfire.
Boogie hits theaters Friday.
Photo from Focus Features