I was less than enthused to watch The Longshots, the PG-rated football movie starring Ice Cube. Based on a true story about one of the first female quarterbacks, The Longshots truly had a long shot chance as it was directed by Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst. Go figure. Nevertheless, I dutifully watched the movie, and while not great, The Longshots isn't a complete waste.
As far as football movies go, The Longshots is pretty forgettable. In fact, in general, the movie is pretty forgettable. Still, for an hour and a half it serves as mindless, harmless entertainment, and for families, that's enough. Ice Cube, who seems to be falling into more and more children's films, stars as an unemployed bum of an uncle who is "hired" by his sister to take care of her socially reclusive daughter (Keke Palmer, the star from Akeelah and the Bee), who has grown up without a father. Harassed by other students and having had no interest in sports, she is an unlikely choice to become the starting QB for a local football team, but become QB she does - and she manages to take what was a pathetic football team to the playoffs. Family sentiments ensue.
The Longshots doesn't have much going for it, as it's a pretty plain movie all around. Cube does a fine job, but isn't nearly as entertaining as we've come to expect from him. Palmer does as good of a job as expected, but I was never able to buy her as a football player, though this has more to do with the script than anything else. Durst fails to establish that she truly is gifted in football, as Cube's character is inspired just by seeing her throw the football a few times - and Palmer's tosses aren't anything to scream about. In fact, Durst never really captures the sense that Palmer's character can actually throw, and her transition into a starting quarterback is abrupt and unbelievable.
When the games are going on, Durst never really gets us into the action or makes things exciting, either. He seems more focused on portraying the rise of this young woman rather than directing a compelling football picture, and that's problematic. Even poor sports movies can be saved with some exciting football action, and the movie just doesn't deliver.
Still, The Longshots is harmless and mildly entertaining, even if I'll never watch it again. The picture never comes off as terrible; just not all that good. For parents, the movie is pretty mild and could make an okay rental, but they could do better.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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