Longshots, The (DVD Review)23 Nov, 2008 By: Pete Croatto
Box Office $11.5 million
$28.95 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG’ for some thematic elements, mild language and brief rude humor.
Stars Ice Cube, Keke Palmer, Tasha Smith, Jill Marie Jones, Matt Craven, Garrett Morris, Dash Mihok, Malcolm Goodwin.
A situation that seems destined to fail — a rapper taking direction from a rock singer in a family-friendly movie — actually works well.
The Longshots may be hokey, but it’s an enjoyable, well-intentioned movie. Just check your cynicism at the door.
Ice Cube plays Curtis Plummer, an unemployed and rudderless former football star who uses the game to bond with his shy niece/reluctant babysitting assignment, Jasmine (Palmer of Akeelah and the Bee). She is initially reluctant, but Jasmine is a natural athlete who can sling the ball with ease.
Curtis urges Jasmine to try out for the local Pop Warner team, which she makes. After the expected hazing from her male teammates, Jasmine leads them to a string of victories that inspires her depressed Illinois town as well as her uncle, who becomes her coach.
Again it’s important to stress that this is a family movie, so those expecting the he-man dramatics of the original The Longest Yard or Rudy will be severely disappointed. However, the movie is inspired by a true story, and a short profile of the real-life Jasmine Plummer is included in the DVD.
For sports-crazed kids and their families, The Longshots is a perfect appetizer for those more-adult movies. Limp Bizkit-frontman-turned-director Fred Durst does a nice job with the football scenes, which are captured in somber autumnal tones by cinematographer Conrad W. Hall; Ice Cube and Palmer deliver authentic, comfortable performances; and Durst, for the most part, presents lessons without being patronizing.
The DVD’s features also include interviews with Durst and Ice Cube (who also produced), a short documentary on the making of the film and deleted scenes.