I've been interested in the career of director Jessica Yu ever since she won an Oscar for a documentary short in 1997 and won my heart by joking that her dress cost more than her film. She has a keen eye for unusual subjects (her documentary about artist Henry Darger is oddly compelling) and a way of associating herself with quality projects (she's directed some great episodes of The West Wing and Grey's Anatomy).
This weekend, Yu's first narrative feature film, Ping Pong Playa, enters theaters in limited release, and while I'm not sure it will have the qualities that make her documentaries so stellar, it could still be a fun diversion if you're looking for something different to watch.
The story centers on Christopher "C-dub" Wang (Jimmy Tsai), an overgrown slacker kid who still clings to dreams of making it to the NBA while living in the shadow of his ping pong champion brother. When his mother can't lead the ping pong class she typically teaches at a local community center, C-dub's forced to step in and take over — and to enter a tournament and fight to maintain his family's ping pong image. It sounds a little like an indie Balls of Fury, if the main character were a hip hop loving Asian American dude.
Check out the Ping Pong Playa site to see when it's coming to a city near you, and to watch the trailer, just