‘Boogie’ review: Eddie Huang’s directing debut tells a basketball story that misses its shot

Like “Fresh Off the Boat,” his autobiography that ended up being the basis for an ABC series, Huang checks out the immigrant experience through the eyes of the household’s American-born child — in this case, a basketball prodigy who chooses the label Boogie (newbie Taylor Takahashi), and has the swagger to go with his on-court abilities.

Residing In New York City with his squabbling, dissatisfied moms and dads, his daddy (Perry Yung) has actually selected basketball as the household’s lottery game ticket, imagining a future that will see his child in the NBA. Up until now, however, the college scholarship deals aren’t rolling in, worrying Boogie’s mother (Pamelyn Chee), and raising concerns about not-so-subtle bigotry relating to the potential customers of an Asian gamer.

After that, however, everything about “Boogie” begins to fall apart, beginning with Boogie’s romance with a classmate (Taylour Paige), which falls mostly flat thanks to all kinds of clunky dialogue. The same goes for the sports plot, which hinges on Boogie’s inevitable showdown with the star of another school, Monk, played by rapper Bashar “Pop Smoke” Jackson, who was killed a year ago, and to whom the movie is dedicated.

Along the way, Boogie clashes with his coach (Domenick Lombardozzi), while mother enlists a manager (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’s” Mike Moh) to help try to maximize her son’s chances, a situation that only creates further tension between the folks.

Huang has a knack for looking at Chinese-Americans in a way that exposes the inevitable conflicts between concerned parents and their very American kids, such as when Boogie’s dad talks about visiting home, to which Boogie responds, “Isn’t this home?”

Beyond that, however, the motion picture seems to be grasping for drama and crises, and as a not-small aside, shoots its basketball scenes in a method that largely drains any excitement or suspense out of them. Having an opponent fling ethnic slurs at Boogie as trash talk on the court might add an edge, but the problematic nature of that otherwise goes unaddressed.

In one of the better scenes, Boogie’s dad makes him watch tennis champ Michael Chang winning the 1989 French Open, reveling in the accomplishment by a Chinese-American in a way his child can’t quite understand.

A few more moments like that and “Boogie” may have fulfilled its potential. As is, Huang’s introductory effort exhibits ambition and energy however eventually does not look all set for the major leagues.

“Boogie” premieres March 5 in choose theaters. It’s ranked R.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.