Chang Can Dunk Parent Guide
With lots of action and authentic personal growth, this movie is a win for young viewers.
Parent Movie Review
Bernard Chang (Bloom Li) lives and breathes basketball. His hero is Kobe Bryant and he believes his idol’s maxim that every obstacle is an opportunity. He’s determined to overcome the social challenges he faces and is resolved that this school year will see the emergence of Chang 2.0 – a cooler, more popular version of himself.
He expands his focus when a new girl moves into the school and joins the marching band alongside him. Chang falls hard for Kristy (Zoe Renee) but he’s not the only one. His old frenemy, Matt (Chase Liefeld), school basketball star and all-round handsome guy, is also interested. The boys’ rivalry intensifies, culminating in a bet. Chang will learn to dunk in ten weeks and will prove it on the school’s basketball court.
Winning this bet is going to take everything Chang has – and then some. His best friend, Bo (Ben Wang), steps up and offers to swaps video editing services with a wannabe coach named Deandre (Dexter Darden), who agrees to help Chang achieve his goals. This launches a rigorous training regimen that sees Chang building strength, endurance, and technical skills. He also grows closer to Kristy and further away from his mother (Mardy Ma), from whom he is hiding his extra-curricular activities.
For parents looking for a family-friendly sports movie, this is a slam dunk. It’s clean, full of positive messages, and overflowing with empathy for adolescent insecurity. The story emphasizes the rewards of goal-setting, persistence, and dogged hard work. It also goes further and encourages self-assessment and humility while warning of the deceptive lure and real consequences of dishonesty. In addition, the movie encourages emotional openness, bringing down relationship barriers, and working on family ties. There’s a lot here for a basketball movie but that doesn’t overcrowd the court; it just gives it some depth.
That’s not to say I loved the film – but I think that’s just because I’m not a basketball fan. I was bored in the first half of the film but once the story evolved past sports scenes, I found myself drawn into the tale of Chang’s emotional maturation. Young basketball fans will enjoy Chang Can Dunk and they’ll learn a lot more than they expect. The filmis clean, it moves along briskly, it’s got plenty of sports action, and it imparts valuable lesson. There’s no downside here: this is Disney+ production is an easy win for family movie night.Directed by Jingyi Shao. Starring Bloom Li, Dexter Darden, Ben Wang. Running time: 109 minutes. Theatrical release March 10, 2023. Updated March 10, 2023
Watch the trailer for Chang Can Dunk
Chang Can Dunk
Rating & Content Info
Why is Chang Can Dunk rated PG? Chang Can Dunk is rated PG by the MPAA for language and some thematic elements.
Violence: A group of guys lock someone in the basement. A teen falls into a pool while trying to push someone else. A guy knocks over in a fight: both are seen with bruises. Family members shout at each other. A character breaks into a building for illicit reasons.
Sexual Content: A teenage boy and girl kiss.
Profanity: There are a half dozen profanities, consisting of minor profanities, a term of deity, and an anatomical expression.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults hold alcoholic beverages at a social function but aren’t seen drinking them.
Page last updated March 10, 2023
Chang Can Dunk Parents' Guide
Chang’s idol Kobe Bryant said “Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.” Do you agree? Have you ever experienced personal growth or success as a result of dealing with a difficult situation? What did you have to do to overcome it? What character traits did success require? Do you know anyone, either famous or in your personal circle, who has emerged stronger from challenges?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
If you are looking for motivational books about sports, you can start with Rising Above: How 11 Athletes Overcame Challenges in Their Youth to Become Stars. Written by Gregory, Elijah, and Gabriel Zuckerman, this is a film that will help teens persevere and take the long view on their lives and goals.
If you want to learn more about Asian hoop stars, you can try Asian American Basketball: A Century of Sport, Community and Culture by Joel S Franks. For a personal story, Clayton Geoffreys wrote Yao Ming: The Inspiring Story of One of Basketball’s Most Dominant Centers. You can also read The Tao of Yao by Oliver Chin.
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Basketball provides plenty of material for inspiring sports movies. Gene Hackman stars as the new coach of a losing team in small town Indiana in Hoosiers. Another struggling coach is at the helm of another struggling team in The Way Back. Basketball becomes a way to help German orphans integrate into an American community during World War I in The Basket.
For even more realism, you can go the documentary route. Hoop Dreams follows the real life struggles and achievements of two teens in Chicago who are determined to make it to the NBA. A basketball player from China rocks the basketball world when he is drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2002. His story is told in the documentary The Year of the Yao.