Ninety-one-year-old Les D’Arcy has a ball; you probably won’t.
PING PONG (Hugh Hartford). 80 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (November 23) at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. See times. Rating: NN
Watching a bunch of 80-year-olds play ping-pong may momentarily put a smile on your face, but Hugh Hartford's pulseless doc pushes that novelty from start to finish.
Eight seniors from all over the globe ranging in age from 80 to 100 compete in Inner Mongolia in a table tennis championship for those over 80. Some are hellbent on winning, while others just want to escape their nursing home routine. Meanwhile, that 100-year-old, Dorothy DeLow, just wants to prove she can do it.
Their decision to stay active and pursue such goals is certainly inspirational, especially when you consider that when today's youth are that age, they'll probably play ping-pong on some sort of gaming console.
However, it's hard to care about these people, since Hartford doesn't pay much attention to any of them as individuals. Maybe he takes a scattershot approach in an effort to cover as many contestants possible, or perhaps none of the subjects proved interesting enough to warrant further characterization.
And it's not like the ping-pong matches are riveting. Instead of wondering who'll win a match, you're cringing, hoping no one breaks a hip.