director: Charles Stone III
writer: Jay Longino
starring: Kyrie Irving, Lil Rel Howery, Shaquille O'Neal and Chris Webber
genre: Comedy | Sport
released: 29 June 2018 (USA)
With the advent of online streaming have simplistic feel good films become a thing of the past for the big screen? As for some they are just an afterthought or at least not an option worth leaving the house for. However, keeping it simple, having a theme and getting the cliches right with some jokes and overarching meanings in the mix was and should always be a product moviegoers should value. As in ‘Uncle Drew’ case, it ticks all the boxes previously mentioned and if it was released 10 to 20 years ago it would have been your standard cinema entertainment for mass audiences, but in today’s cinema world it feels like a film out of time, but not out of heart.
Dax (Lil Rel Howery) is in love with the sport of basketball, but he still hasn’t learned to take any shots in life so things can get better for him, before they get a lot worse. It all starts off with Dax losing his girlfriend, house and street basketball team. This will eventually put him on the road and out of contention for the local Rucker’s classic street tournament.
In what one could call fate, he meets the baller himself Uncle Drew (Kyrie Irving) who most would think was only only an urban legend. However, he does exist and in the old age of 60 something, can still play better than the younger fools that occupy the courts. With this chance meeting will be Dax’s opportunity to assemble a team to get to the Rucker’s, but also learn a thing or two from the older and forgotten generation.
Personally, I was a big basketball fan in my youth ever since I saw Shaquille O’Meal play in the NBA finals against the Houston Rockets. Since then I was a O’Neal fan anytime, anywhere. Didn’t matter which team he went to or film he played in, at a young age I was a blind fan that thought ‘Steel’ was a decent quality flick and not the guilty pleasure I see it as today, but I digress. His era of basketball was for me the pinnacle of entertainment, pure athleticism and teamwork. Today I’ve lost every understanding and sight of the game, but this film came out with it the likes of Reggie Miller and Chris Weber and suddenly I was back and on board yet again for some great basketball fun.
Naturally, we aren’t talking about ‘Blue Chips’ or ‘Space Jam’ here, but a little nostalgia goes a long way, at least for some of us. Not to mention the fact that it is funny, heartfelt and cathartic for the characters who almost all have personal arcs and subplots. Naturally, it would have been nice if there were some even more hilarious aspects and over the top situations to it and an ‘Any Given Sunday’ like direction, but you have to know what you are asking for with each individual project. As this film is about a team of 60 year old’s beating 20 year old’s at basketball and also letting yourself have faith that claiming your own destiny is important and never giving up. And as Uncle Drew perfectly states in the film:
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.”
Seeing and liking this film all boil down to how much you like basketball and the particular players in it. Personally and as mentioned certain players were enough for me to see it and enjoy the entertainment on screen. The young comedy actors that accompany them helped and are perfect for the cheesy situations and no one overshadows each other to steal the spotlight. And while it is cliched, it is also warranted and done right.