Wednesday, 25 June 2008

EIFF: The King of Ping Pong - Review by Maria Velez-Serna

Director: Jens Jonsson
Running Time: 107 mins

The King of Ping-PongDir. Jens Jonsson, Sweden, 2008.I had high expectations for The King of Ping-Pong, a family drama set in Ikealand and posing as a deadpan comedy in the vein of the excellent Du Levande (Roy Andersson, 2007). But even the full exploration of a thousand shades of beige fails to revitalize the stereotype of the miserable, overweight and bespectacled teenager. The movie has some visually striking moments, making the most of ice and snow (of which plenty), as well as cartoonish characters in embarrassing situations (a good thing when done by the Swedish, it seems). In the last 20 minutes, however, the chilling atmosphere freezes completely, and then you realize that the film was meant to be serious. And selling American-style teenage angst as Nordic comedy is like selling Sweeney Todd as not a musical: It's cheating.

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