LINSANITY (Evan Jackson Leong). 89 minutes. Opens Friday (January 24). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
We already know how Jeremy Lin rocketed from obscurity to bona fide NBA stardom in a matter of days in 2012. Now we get the backstory from documentary filmmaker Evan Jackson Leong.
Unfortunately, Lin himself lacks warmth and humour and, like, has trouble expressing himself. You cheer for him because he's the underdog and fights like hell, not cuz you want to be his bud. Game footage from high school to the pros is compelling; interviews with the devoutly religious San Fran native (and his devoutly religious family and friends) much less so.
Outrageous moments of racism are shocking reminders of prevailing Asian-American stereotypes. (In one TV clip, American morning show hosts burst out laughing when one questions Lin's eyesight.) But Leong wisely does not make these moments the focus for his feature, which is really about one boy's hoop dreams.
The doc hits its stride when Lin, perilously close to being cut from the New York Knicks and the NBA forever, hits his. The storyline would be unbelievable were it not true. Anyone with even a peripheral knowledge of basketball knows that going from third-string point guard to scoring 38 points against Kobe Bryant is completely, er, linsane, totally worth reliving one more time, even via a flawed doc like this one.