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Hollywood Spotlight - Reviews [Love and Basketball]
ORIGINAL FULL FILM REVIEW
LOVE AND BASKETBALL
New Line Cinema
All’s Fair In Love and Basketball
PG-13 (sexuality and language)
Spike Lee, Sam Kit
Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Debbi Morgan, Harry J Lennix, Alfre Woodard
· Synopsis: [Recommended Reading] Quincy McCall and Monica Wright are childhood adversaries an talented athletes who have a love for the game of basketball and each other. As each pursues their dream of competing in professional sports, they must face their own respective hurdles. The story begins with
Monica and Quincy as youngsters, when she moves in next door. Quincy is shocked to find she can play ball better than most guys. When he asks her to be his girlfriend, it lasts about a minute: She finds his eleven-year-old machismo out of control. Cut to High school: Following in the footsteps of his famous dad, an NBA player, Quincy has his pick of colleges, and women, while Monica is appalled by his taste in the latter. She also can't understand why her coach thinks his best player has to act like a lady on the court: Monica is definitely no lady. But when Quincy sees her dolled up for the senior dance, he discovers he has fallen
in love with his tomboy neighbor. They continue pursuing their respective basketball careers as college sweethearts- until Quincy's dad, his idol, lets him down, and Monica does, too, because she can't miss curfew before a big game to be there for him. When Quincy announces that he's dropping out of school to turn pro and their romance is off, Monica is left wondering if "being all about ball" is worth losing the love of her life. But all's fair in love and basketball, and the game isn't over until the fourthquarter has been played.
he movie, Love and Basketball is a bad, bad film. I advise anyone who enjoys films with substance to stay clear of this one. This film is a cliché machine with a conveniently predictable plot. It is rare to find such an appropriate example of executives controlling the final outcome of a film. They must have pondered the question of how to get guys to watch a love story. Whoever the genius was who came up with mixing basketball into this love story is in the wrong business. If the director actually had any control over the outcome of this film then this person should find another line of work. I just cannot believe that anyone would put his or her name on this without becoming queasy. This is by far one of the worst basketball movies ever made, surpassing the strong favorite Blue Chips.
There was absolutely nothing special about Gina Prince’s directorial style. The actual basketball scenes were shot in such tight in-your-face style it made it all seem fake. In fact, the early basketball scenes were very much like those in Teen Wolf. Other than those scenes the rest of the film lacked any sort of creative flare. For example, after we are introduced to the main characters at a young age (the girl gets cut on the face) we jump to a high school basketball game. The director could not figure any other way to introduce the, now older, main character than a quick close up on the scar. Now if something had been developed with the scar then that would have worked. In this case, the director uses it as a nametag. It is hand holding at its worst and it indicates that whomever was behind this clearly thinks the audience is too dumb to figure it out for themselves. Also, there is not a single scene that stands out and sticks to the memory. It is very important to use the camera as well as the characters to suck the audience in. Film is moving pictures and in those pictures there are words. Both of these characteristics have to work together to capture the audience's attention. Love and Basketball fails to achieve this simple formula. This film is pure fluff much like the ample amount of tasteless fat-free products we can find in our grocery stores.
Love and Basketball follows most every basketball film in which the action is so poorly documented that the audience looks for other entertaining values or even an interesting plot. Unfortunately, there is not that much else to find in this movie. The love story is so obvious and so poorly developed it is hard to care about any of the characters. After Quincy and the girl first get together, the movie jumps to college where they are a happy couple. We have two friends for life who all of a sudden fall for each other after the audience sees them fighting as eleven-year-olds in the beginning of the film. After a romantic encounter they are this sudden blissful couple and ultimately there is no reason to care about these characters or their new-found love. It would have been wise if the director at least allowed the couple to go through some early hardships. If any of the main character's friends had been introduced as an adversary then the movie would have been well served. It would have allowed the audience to form an actual opinion of the main character. If he had stood strong against his friends then the audience would surely have felt even more for him such as when his father lets him down. The coupling of the main characters is done in such a nonchalant manner that by the time the credits roll, you will be glad to find the exit. Also, it is sad to find yet another love story tainted by such old world sexist values. When the main character, Monica, is a tomboy playing the game she loves, she is ignored by the guys as well as her own mother. She isn’t noticed until she is decked out in a tight, revealing dress. Maybe this is the true reality of our society, but this film does not attempt anything new. Perhaps this is a feeble way of showing the struggles female athletes go through. It exists in some careful predetermined boundaries that some executives created in various focus groups with information from those who saw the film in post-production.
It is all too apparent that Love and Basketball was made to fit a certain quota. There is no artistic merit in a film like this. This was clearly composed to target teenagers who need a bad date movie and it probably will make enough money to please the executives. Once again we are presented with a movie lacking in substance. To any aspiring film directors out there, take note of this film and whatever you do leave any and all sports out of a love story. In fact, there is no reason to ever make a film about basketball ever again. This movie needs to be filed in the back of the rental stores and collect dust with the rest of those truly awful basketball flicks.