Opening 24 Nov 2005
Once again Coach Roy (Martin Lawrence) fails to attend his team’s big game. The members of Ohio Polytech’s basketball team have to make do with a few rah-rahs from their coach via tape recorder while Roy tends to his second job where the real money is: product promotion. His backers soon throw him out of the big leagues. For a second chance, he must prove that he can be successful somewhere else, but nobody wants him. Finally, he accepts (with the encouragement of his manager Tim Fink, played by Breckin Meyer) an offer to coach the Smelters from his own alma mater Mount Vernon Junior High School. They lose their first game, 0-109. Roy introduces the players Keith, One Love, Goggles, Fuzzy, and Ralph to their new team mates: Big Mac, a tank of a girl; and Wes, whose only talent is being tall. By the end of the film they have learned to work together, play basketball, and win. Preacher Don (Lawrence in a double role, copied from the Blues Brothers) inspires the team and Ralph’s mother Jeanie Ellis (Wendy Raquel Robinson) inspires Roy. Naturally, Roy matures, falls in love with Jeanie, and moves mountains in order to be present at an important Smelters’ game, which, of course, they win.
This film puts forth the typical American positive reinforcement message about overcoming insurmountable hurdles. It’s not original, but there is no harm in it; sometimes it’s even uplifting as we’ve already seen in School of Rock or Mad Hot Ballroom. Keith learns to pass the ball. All agree that they no longer want to embarrass themselves, and definitely not their coach. Roy says, “There is no ‘I’ in the word ‘team,’ and “Real power means showing respect,” and, “No matter what the scoreboard says, you are all winners.” This is a film for the whole family, especially children and teenagers, and anyone else who might be homesick for some old-fashioned American kitsch. Directed by Steve Carr. (Becky Tan)