Year Released: 2007
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 107 minutes
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With a name like “The King of Ping Pong,” one would expect a delightful, fun comedy. Add to the mix the fact that the main character is a chubby nerd named Rille who loves his ping pong and you might be ready for a quirky little coming of age tale. Well, neither thought could be further from the truth as “The King of Ping Pong” is a beautifully shot yet far too meandering film in which characters you barely care about do lots of random things.
This is the sort of film that’s so frustrating because director Jens Jonsson clearly has a great eye and owes a few kudos to Kubrick. The film has a cold, detached feel and not just because it’s set in icy Sweden. Long shots and odd non sequiturs that you wish would go somewhere really don’t and it’s a shame because the set ups to scenes are there, it’s just that the execution falls flat. Further, while you kind of feel bad for Rille because he’s chunky and constantly picked on, those unfortunate circumstances don’t make you feel empathy because the character is just so damned (and I hate to say it) boring.
The basic plotline revolves around Rille and his little brother Erik as they try to come to terms with their mom’s new boyfriend as well as the fact that their dad is a flake. Rille does manage to have fun by playing ping pong and running a sort of ping pong clinic for the locals. As brothers are prone to do, Rille and Erik fight but ultimately love each other, that is until a poorly kept secret leaks out that threatens the bond of family. But the thing is, and I’ve said it before, I just didn’t care. The film is so slow moving and dull (aside from the occasion cool shot) that I just kept mentally checking out. When a film clocks in at 107 minutes and feels 3 hours long, that’s not good. I still think director Jens Jonsson has a ton of potential, but this film is all form with no function.
Posted on January 22, 2008 in Reviews by Don R. Lewis
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