Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: NR Length: 92 minutes
Age Appropriate For: 13+. The film is worthy of a PG-13 rating, with typical coming-of-age elements: a violent bully specializing in homoerotic and racist taunts, a troubled young woman who is self-medicating (not with drugs, but she is addicted to a mix of soda and candy), and a main character struggling to find himself. Also some language and sexually themed jokes.
Shot on location in nearby Ocean City, Maryland, ‘Ping Pong Summer’ aims to recreate the neon nostalgia of the 1980s. And although it’s purposefully formulaic, ‘Ping Pong Summer’ never puts an original spin on its homage.
By Roxana Hadadi
If you swapped out the martial arts in 1984’s “The Karate Kid” for ping pong, you would basically have “Ping Pong Summer,” an underdog sports movie by way of teenage coming of age. Set in the 1980s, this is a movie about mastering table tennis, sure, but also about growing up in the age of shoulder boomboxes, neon everything, and PopRocks. But “Ping Pong Summer” never transcends its cultural nods and never develops real emotional resonance; it’s too mired in paying homage to ever become its own thing.