Metacritic (6/10), Letterboxd (3/5), Imdb.com (6/10)
If you love predictable sports movies (particularly those about pro basketball), then you’ll absolutely love this by-the-book “Rocky”-esque underdog story with its formulaic rollercoaster narrative, monodimensional characters, ample highlight reel footage and predictable feel good vibes. If, however, you’re looking for something more substantial, search elsewhere, because you simply won’t get it out of this offering from director Jeremiah Zagar. While this is undoubtedly a capably made genre picture, it nevertheless doesn’t go beyond the time-tested, tried-and-true tropes of movies of this stripe, which can be fine if you don’t have high expectations but disappointing to those with more elevated aspirations. What stands out here most is the surprisingly tolerable lead performance by Adam Sandler, who has at last successfully learned how to rein himself in, an essential element for a film with more meat than his laundry list of deplorably silly comedies. It’s also a big improvement from his first stab at more serious fare, “Uncut Gems” (2019), but his selection as a Screen Actors Guild Award nominee for best actor for this performance is truly baffling considering the other more qualified candidates that he bested. Mind you, this is not awful or offensive fare; it’s just not especially memorable or moving. Save it for one of those times when there’s nothing else particularly great worth watching.