Linda Cook review: ‘Boogie’ is dramatic sports movie

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“Boogie” is a solid urban coming-of-age story with contemporary perspectives on race.

Alfred ‘Boogie” Chin (Taylor Takahashi) is a high-school senior who has a lot of talent on the basketball court.

His parents Vivian (Pamelyn Chee, “Stitchers”) and Lawrence (Perry Yung, “John Wick: Chapter 2”) have to City Prep so he can play for Coach Hawkins. While it’s true the team isn’t really that good, it’s guaranteed Boogie will go up against Monk (the late Pop Smoke), a renowned local talent.

If Boogie can beat Monk, he may have a chance at an athletic scholarship.

Boogie would rather hang out with his best friend Richie (Jorge Lendeborg Jr., “Alita: Battle Angel”), who also is a member of the school team. Boogie also flirts relentlessly with Eleanor (Taylour Paige, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) rather than concentrating on how his life is mirrored in “The Catcher in the Rye” (I love how the English teacher tells the class “Whether you know it or not, right here, right now, you are a coming-of-age story.”

Boogie has an offer from an Asian team, but that means he won’t be going pro with the NBA.

Boogie sometimes is his worst enemy. He doesn’t really respect his teammates or coach, let alone his parents.

Screenwriter/director Eddie Huang doesn’t depict anyone as a villain or hero. The kids discuss their parents, their futures, and race. I like its focus on a Chinese-American family.

It also has some very adult moments – brief violence, foul language throughout, and sexual situations that make it unsuitable for little kids. It’s appropriately rated “R.”

Huang, with the series “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Huang’s World” to his credit, can add this slice-of-life sports movie to his resume. I’m looking forward to whatever he brings to the big screen next.

3 stars

Rated: R for foul language, violence and sexual situations.

Running time: One hour and 30 minutes.

At Cinemark, Davenport, and Palms 10, Muscatine.

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