As Disney continues to expand its library on Disney+, we’re starting to see a lot more of the made-for-TV style movies made specifically for their streaming network. It’s not that these movies are made at a lower quality, in fact, Disney seems to continue to pump a lot of money into movies and sometimes series, that would never get screen time elsewhere.
The newest of these movies that fit that formula is Chang Can Dunk, a movie that tells you the whole story in the name, and may make you question why it was made in the first place. The movie follows the story of a high schooler name Chang, a smaller in size kid who definitely isn’t in the popular crowd. But following every typical made-for-TV type movie and probably most high school-aged boys, he’s motivated by trying to impress a girl.
The movie starts out simple enough, Chang is bullied by the popular kid (who of course he used to be friends with), meets the new girl, and finds out that the popular boy also likes the new girl. Having been obsessed with basketball his whole life, Chang challenges the popular kid that he can dunk a basketball by the end of the season, in exchange for a signed jersey. All of this comes to a head when an hour into the movie – Chang makes the shot, but as we find out later not fully on his own. Even though he knows he didn’t actually make the shot, Chang gets news interviews, trips, and even special treatment until the truth comes out – and it seems that he somehow even gets the girl.
The movie’s name made us nervous going into it. Was the movie going to be focused solely on the fact that Chang was an Asian boy, who was smaller and not a stereotypical basketball player? Fans of the sport know there are Asian players and some who have no issues due to their height playing against taller players. And the movie doesn’t actually call this out until much later when Chang yells at the boy he challenged that it was because he is Asian that he didn’t think he couldn’t dunk. Not that he was smaller, or not on the team, or untrained. Whether the movie tossed this in to show that the movie itself wasn’t trying to be racist, but the motives could still feel that way or not – we’ll never know. But the title makes you wonder what the actual intent was.
The long and short of it, Chang can dunk. The title tells you the whole story and really makes you question why you would spend almost two hours watching a movie the title spoils. Thankfully, if you’re already subscribed to Disney+ this movie is included, but it doesn’t have any great message, great story, or lesson included. It’s simply a teen-fueled movie that is pretty pointless and has a very shallow story it’s based around.
Chang Can Dunk is now streaming on Disney+.
About Chang Can Dunk
“Chang Can Dunk” follows Chang, a 16-year-old, Asian American high school student in the marching band, who bets the school basketball star that he can dunk by Homecoming. The bet leads the 5’ 8″ Chang on a quest to find the hops he needs to dunk in order to impress his crush, Kristy, and finally gain the attention and respect of his high school peers. But before he can rise up and truly throw one down, he’ll have to reexamine everything he knows about himself, his friendships and his family.