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Case Number 08466

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Fox // 2005 // 86 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 27th, 2006

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All Rise...

Wow, the kids miraculously win the championship huh? Judge David Johnson did not see that one coming.

The Charge

A slam-dunk (comedy) or (piece of crap). Choose one.

Opening Statement

I wonder if this ragtag group of lovable kids will somehow overcome the odds and make it to the championship game against their arch-rivals? I've got this sneaking suspicion that they just might…

Facts of the Case

Martin Lawrence (Bad Boys 2) headlines this family-oriented comedy about a hapless basketball team and the coach who would lead them to glory. That man is Roy McCormick (Lawrence), once a celebrated college coach for the NCBA, Roy apparently lost sight of his love for the game, instead turning his hunger for fame and success into fat, juicy endorsement deals. His lack of ambition has also translated to general malaise on the sidelines, buttressed by a fiery temper.

When one of his outbursts land him in hot water from the basketball commission, Roy is forced to relocate his coaching duties and prove that he is capable of returning to the bench, or face permanent expulsion from the league. His agent lands him a coaching gig at the middle school Roy used to attend, and with much dragging of feet and strained facial expressions, Roy grudgingly accepts.

Waiting for him at the gym is an assemblage of losers and outcasts, coached by the Home Economics teacher (Horatio Sanz). They have yet to come within 100 points of their competition, much less won a game. So Roy takes the reins, at first looking to tread water until he is allowed back into the college ranks, but shucks! if he doesn't have an epiphany and decide that gee whiz! these kids are just so darn lovable and by golly! he's going to give it his all and give back to the community, and maybe, just maybe, impress the attractive music teacher who happens to be the mom of one of his players and is currently involved in a broken marriage and has awesome breasts.

The Evidence

Ugh. If you've seen any kids sports movie ever, or, heck, even rented a movie that was adjacent to a kids sports movie on the shelf, I'm sure you can completely map out the plotline of this profoundly predictable film right down to the final, slow-motion game-winning shot. Here, I'll make it easy for you:

1.When Martin Lawrence's character Roy first arrives at basketball practice, his team is:

a) Running pitch-perfect lay-up drills, and taking it upon themselves to build their endurance with brutal suicides.

b) Huddling around a movie projector, notepads out, analyzing game footage of their opponents, desperately searching for weaknesses to exploit in the coming games.

c) Engaging in innovative team-building activities from a professional training firm, subsidized by money they made selling cupcakes in front of the supermarket.

d) Bouncing the balls off each other's heads.

2. Roy meets an attractive divorcee at school. At first she doesn't like him. By the end of the film, these two will:

a) have gone out several times, but realized they don't have that much in common and decide to pursue only a professional relationship.

b) acknowledge their mutual attraction for each other, but abiding by the strict school policy that discourages dating between co-workers, opt to refrain from any amorous encounters.

c) engage in a long, complex discussion about the merits of a romance when one of Roy's players is involved, as well as the mitigating circumstances of the recent divorce and any feelings of vulnerability that may manifest themselves in a serious relationship so soon after such a devastating personal crisis.

d) kiss each other on the mouth.

3. Eager to bulk up the roster, Roy enlists the help of:

a) a girl.

b) the local bully with a heart of gold.

c) the talented player struggling in math.

d) all of the above, thereby combining three stereotypes into one all-powerful mega-stereotype.

4. Roy stumbles upon a shy, awkward young boy who's never played any basketball but is incredibly tall. However, he may be too emotionally unstable to handle the pressure. Roy eventually convinces the boy to join his squad and almost immediately:

a) laments his poor judgment, as the boy is soon reduced to tears after the first game.

b) apologizes to the boy and his family for dragging him onto the court despite his absolute lack of skill and experience.

c) rethinks the idea and manages to convince his new recruit to focus on things he likes, such as music and collecting Magic cards.

d) transforms the kid into an unstoppable force, infuses him with confidence that immediately draws the admiring glances of the school's most attractive young ladies, so redefines his life that he will likely go on to cure cancer or single-handedly broker peace between Hamas and the Israeli government.

5. At first, the team struggles, failing to come even close to its opponents. Meanwhile, another coach (Patrick Warburton) consistently harasses Roy and his squad. But following a well-timed montage and a change of heart, this talent-starved band of misfits:

a) tries hard, but fails to win a game.

b) shows marginal improvement, finishing the season 2-12.

c) exceeds everybody's wildest expectations and goes on to the playoffs, where they meet their arch-rivals, but eventually succumbs to their opponents' superior talent.

d) goes undefeated the rest of the season, tears through the playoffs, and proceeds to beat the champs by one point, thanks to a lucky call and some free throws set to swelling music.

How'd you do? If you put down D for every answer, you win! Rebound is by-the-books formula, a kids sports movie just like every other one you have ever seen before. It doesn't have a shred of originality, the laughs are few and cheap (there's a recurring gag with a kid who throws up all the time), and it's largely missing the key ingredient to these ventures: charm.

That being said, it is a harmless movie, with, vomiting aside, barely any scatological humor and positive messages about teamwork and self-esteem. As an added surprise, the normally grating Martin Lawrence is relatively reserved here, managing to keep his over-the-top and unfunny facial mugging to a minimum. Thank the Lord.

A solid 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and full screen transfer are both available on this dual-sided disc, supported by 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. Extras are in short supply, with just a storyboard gallery and commentary by writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Beware spoiler. One of the runt kids wins the championship game by sinking a free throw. Unfortunately, it's obvious that he commits a flagrant lane violation after the release of the shot. There is no call. The other team gets screwed. Coach Roy's miracle season is forever besmirched.

Closing Statement

This is an almost-serviceable piece of mindless kiddie entertainment that should scarf off about an hour and a half. To bad it's utterly devoid of humor and originality.

The Verdict

How about one movie where the kids lose. Huh? Just one? I'm slapping this with a DNP.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 85
Extras: 75
Acting: 70
Story: 65
Judgment: 68

Perp Profile

Studio: Fox
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
• All Ages
• Comedy
• Sports

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary by the Writers
• Storyboard Gallery
• Trailers


• IMDb
• Official Site

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