It’s Geriatric Legends vs. Youngbloods in Rucker Park Hoops Comedy
Rucker Park is home to a popular basketball tournament staged since 1950 on an outdoor court located at 155th Street in Harlem. Many promising prospects have honed their skills on the world famous proving ground en route to enviable NBA careers: Kevin Durant, Wilt Chamberlain, Karrem Abdul Jabbar, “Dr. J” (Julius Erving) and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, to name a few.
Sadly, some Rucker standouts seemingly bound for glory have failed to even make it to the pro ranks, including such self-destructive streetball legends as Pee Wee Kirkland and Earl “The Goat” Manigault. Upon retiring, Jabbar referred to The Goat (aka Greatest of All Time) as the best player he’d ever competed against.
Uncle Drew is a hilarious hoops flick which pays tribute to Rucker Park as well as to the acrobatic athletes who have mesmerized generations of adoring fans attending the annual summer classic. Directed by Charles Stone III (Drumline), the picture stars the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving as the title character, but don’t expect to be able to recognize him under all the gobs of plastic makeup turning him into a senior citizen.
The same can be said of Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson and Lisa Leslie, as they all transition into old timers, too, a la Larry Johnson’s alter ego Grandmama of another era. Rounding out the principal cast are the Orlando Magic’s Aaron Gordon and a half-dozen of the funniest comedians around: Tiffany Haddish, J.B. Smoove, Mike Epps, Nick Kroll, Lil Rel Howery and Erica Ash. Oh, and the film features a profusion of cameos appearances by George “Iceman” Gervin, Jerry West, Dikembe Mutombo, Bill Walton, David Robinson, Steve Nash, Rick Barry, Chris Mullin and more.
Just past the point of departure, we find Dax (Howery) fielding a team to enter in the upcoming Rucker tournament. But when the hapless manager loses not only his best players but also his wife (Haddish) to the perennial winning coach (Kroll), he prevails upon geriatric Drew for help.
Drew, in turn, embarks on a cross-country road trip, coaxing his long-lost buddies out of retirement for one last hurrah on the court at Rucker. This ain’t easy, for a variety of reasons. Big Fella (Shaq) is now the sensei of a thriving karate school. Lights (Miller) is legally blind. Boots (Robinson) is wheelchair-bound. And Preacher (Webber) has a bat-wielding, disapproving wife (Leslie), plus a church congregation he’ll have to abandon to make the trek.
Of course, upon arriving at Rucker, the reunited geezers are practically laughed off the court, at least until they show they still got game. But can the cagey old codgers prevail in the championship match against the youngbloods coached by Dax’s trash-talking nemesis? What do you think?
A delightful family comedy guaranteed to keep you in stitches all the way to the satisfying, if not exactly surprising, finale.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, suggestive material and brief nudity
Running time: 103 minutes
Production Studios: Creators League Studio / Temple Hill Entertainment /Summit Entertainment / Pepsi Productions
Distributor: Lionsgate Films
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening July 6, 2018
Ant-Man and the Wasp (PG-13 for action and violence) 20th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise finds superhero Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) joining forces with the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) to embark on an urgent mission to unearth some big secrets from their past. With Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Pena, Laurence Fishburne, T.I. “Tip” Harris and Bobby Cannavale.
The First Purge (R for pervasive profanity, disturbing violence, sexuality and drug use) Prequel to the dystopian horror trilogy finds America’s test of a pilot program allowing a night of lawlessness in one community going awry when violence spreads like wildfire across the entire nation. Ensemble cast includes Marisa Tomei, Melonie Diaz, Lexi Scott Davis, Luna Lauren Velez and Y’lan Noel.
Sorry to Bother You (R for sexuality, graphic nudity, pervasive profanity and drug use) Sci-fi comedy, set in Oakland, about a telemarketer (Lakeith Stanfield) who enjoys material success after discovering the key to powercalling, much to the chagrin of his performance artist/political artist girlfriend (Tessa Thompson). With Armie Hammer, Forest Whitaker, Patton Oswalt, Danny Glover, Terry Crews, Steven Yeun and Omari Hardwick.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN
Bleeding Steel (R for violence and some profanity) Jackie Chan stars in this sci-fi thriller as a police inspector on the trail of the mad scientist (Callan Mulvey) behind the mysterious disappearance of his daughter (Na-Na OuYang) over a decade ago. (In English and Mandarin with subtitles.)
The Citizen (Unrated) Immigration saga, set in Budapest, about an African refugee (Cake-Baly Marcelo) who develops feelings for the married teacher (Agnes Mahr) helping him prepare to take his citizenship exam. With Tunde Szalontay, Tibor Gaspar and Peter Barbinek. (In Hungarian with subtitles.)
The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter (Unrated) Male bonding opportunity comedy about a famous outdoorsman’s (Josh Brolin) attempt to reconnect with his estranged, 11-year-old son (Montana Jordan) while on an epic weekend adventure during which they’re accompanied by his trusted cameraman (Danny McBride). With Carrie Coon, Scoot McNairy and Rory Scovel.
Moss (Unrated) Mitchell Slaggert plays the title character in this coming-of-age tale, set on a secluded island in North Carolina, revolving around a grieving teen who overcomes the loss of his mother (Hannah Johnston) with the help of a mysterious hiker (Christine Marzano) he meets along the banks of the river behind his house. Support cast includes Dorian Cobb, Billy Ray Suggs and Erby Dalmus Burton.
No Postage Necessary (PG-13 for suggestive material) Tale of redemption about a recently-paroled computer hacker (George Blagden) who finally decides to go straight after falling in love with the widow (Charleene Closshey) of a Marine killed in Afghanistan. With Robbie Kay, Michael Beach and Michelle Moreno.
Under the Tree (Unrated) Hatfields vs. McCoys dramedy about an escalating feud between neighboring families over which one owns a beautiful tree located along the property line. Co-starring Edda Bjorgvinsdottir, Selma Bjornsdottir and Dora Johannsdottir. (In Icelandic with subtitles.)
Whitney (R for profanity and drug content) Revealing biopic painting a warts-and-all portrait of Whitney Houston [1963-2012] probing deeper than the sensational tabloid stories. Featuring rare, archival footage of her husband Bobby Brown, their late daughter, Bobbi Christina, and her mother, Cissy Houston.