Chicken (2013) – By Philip Smolen

Poh Phuk (get it?) (Vandal Truong) is a food delivery boy for a Brooklyn Chinese restaurant with a secret dream. He wants to be a street baller (a local park basketball hero who humiliates his opponents). There’s only one problem – Poh is a terrible basketball player.

One of his deliveries takes him to the home of his hero, street baller White Mike (Michael Gilhooly). Mike publically humiliates Poh, so the embarrassed delivery boy challenges Mike to a street ball game the next day. Poh is totally outclassed, of course, and humiliated once again. However, he is determined to beat Mike. So he seeks out a special trainer, the legendary Rolando Jenkins (Erich Green), father of his best friend Nigel Jenkins (Erich Green again). Known as the angriest black man around, Rolando attempts to instill the right attitude in Poh so he can get his revenge on Mike. But Poh’s mother (Kristen Hung) doesn’t want her son to play street ball. She wants him to become a great food delivery boy like her late husband (Poh’s dad). With the odds against him can Poh get the skills he needs to whip White Mike?

“Chicken” is a new indie film from Dan Bowhers and Planet Pictures. It’s an outrageously profane spoof of the classic sports hero movie. All of the film’s characters are sketched broadly and to the extreme. Poh is not a disgraced jock. He’s a totally clueless Asian delivery boy who doesn’t even recognize his own lack of street ball ability. White Mike is not just the local basketball bully. He’s a b-ball thug who stars in his own rap videos and colors with crayons while he’s relaxing. Nigel Jenkins isn’t just a bitter old man who longs for one last chance. He’s a profane racist drunk who hates everybody (think of TV’s Fred Sanford in XXX mode). Subtlety is not this movie’s strength. Think of the most extreme movie spoof that you know. “Chicken” tops any of those.

Unfortunately, the film lacks charm. You want to like Poh, but he’s so surly and angry all the time that you can’t root for him. He’s also so nasty that at one point he strangles a Brooklynite who happened to make fun of him a couple of times. “Chicken” runs over an hour and a half, and that’s way too long. There’s no rhythm to the film and some of the scenes stop the movie cold.

“Chicken” is indeed silly, absurd and shocking. However, there’s nothing behind the shock. That’s a shame because it’s clear that director Dan Bowhers has talent. Hopefully his next film will be a better testament to it.

Ratings Note – this movie is profane with extreme language and situations as well as racial stereotyping that may be considered offensive.

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