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Ping Pong Summer Blu-ray Review

Ping Pong Summer Blu-ray

“Ping Pong Summer” is a bland throwback to the 80’s.

On paper, “Ping Pong Summer” sounds like my jam. After all, how can you go wrong with an 80’s set coming of age comedy with an all-star cast containing the likes of Lea Thompson, John Hannah, Susan Sarandon, Amy Sedaris and Judah Friedlander? Alas, “Ping Pong Summer” feels off from the get-go as it desperately tries to capture the spirit of a quirky comedy such as “Napoleon Dynamite” and 80’s classics such as “The Karate Kid.”

The story (which feels an awful lot like the superior “The Way Way Back”) revolves around a socially awkward, hip hop music loving teen (Rad) who embarks on a family vacation to Ocean City, Maryland. As you can probably guess, this simple vacation transforms Rad’s life as he makes a new friend, develops a new crush, becomes deeply invested in ping pong, finds a mentor, and winds up facing off against “bully” ping pong competitors in an epic game.

Despite the impressive production values and location shooting in Maryland, “Ping Pong Summer” suffers from a lack of humor, 80’s movie clichés, and a badly miscast lead. It’s evident from the first scene that Marcello Conte (who plays Rad) has never acted in a film prior to this because he’s so wooden and amateurish in each and every scene. Conte’s performance only worsens when he acts opposite amidst veteran actors and actresses like Susan Sarandon. I know it sounds like I’m being unjustly harsh to this teen actor, but it’s an unavoidable critique to make. Had someone else taken on the lead role, the movie could have been a lot different for better or for worse.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: Widescreen 1080p. How does it look? The overabundance of grain is entirely distracting. A disappointing transfer to say the least.

Audio Track: Unspecified Dolby TrueHD. How does it sound? It’s a bit flat.

Extras:
* Millennium Entertainment trailers.
* “Lazer Beach: The Making of Ping Pong Summer” contains cast and crew interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and the usual making of featurette material.
* A boring commentary by Michael Tully and George Rush. The two talk about Casey Kasem, behind-the-scenes tidbits, production info, locations, songs, shots, etc.

Overall Thoughts: I can admire the fact that “Ping Pong Summer” sets out to be a nostalgic tribute to the 80’s, but it’s simply a hodgepodge of better films when it’s all said and done.

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July 27, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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