Judge David Johnson likes his Mighty Macs with extra cheese and no onions.
Macs and me!
Yes, I admit it. On the surface, The Mighty Macs smells like yet another paint-by-numbers feel-good basketball movie, but two things keep it from banishment to The Vortex of Sports Cliche Oblivion: 1) It's based on a true story, particularly the life and times of coaching legend Cathy Rush; and 2) the underdogs are female college basketball athletes playing in an era when not much attention was paid to women's athletics.
Here's the story: Cathy Rush (Carla Gugino, Sin City) accepts a job paying nothing, coaching the women's basketball team at a small Catholic college. There is zero budget for something as basic as uniforms, since the gym burned down a few months ago and the college is in the middle of funding crisis. Add to that, Cathy's husband Ed (David Boreanaz, Bones) thinks she's wasting her time. Faced with push back on all fronts, Cathy soldiers on, attempting to teach her girls that despite being under-funded and overpowered on the court, fundamentals and teamwork can breed success.
Cheesy? Sure! The beats are familiar and there isn't anything new to see, as far as sports movies go: montages, inspirational locker room speeches, slow-motion last-second shots. But the sentimentality is legit. Cathy Rush is a Hall of Famer who took that small college team to three titles, amid scarce resources and an unappreciative environment. Her story is great and deserves to be told, and the best compliment I can pay The Mighty Macs is that it does so in a clean and effective way.
One element I would like to have seen more attention given is the domestic relationship between Cathy and Ed. There are a handful of scenes, particularly in the beginning, most of which are tension-laden with Ed being sort of a jerk about the whole thing. Ed, of course, comes around eventually, but it would have been nice to see him get won over by Cathy's achievements in a more explicit way.
The DVD: standard definition 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital surround, a solid making-of featurette, deleted scenes, and an ESPN segment on the real Mighty Macs.
Not Guilty. It's low-cal fluff, but The Mighty Macs is a nice little story.
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