Ever since Remember the Titans was released in 2000, studios have consistently put out feel-good sports films intended for the family audience. From Miracle to We Are Marshall to Gridiron Gangs, no film has been able to captivate the audience like Titans; however, they continue to try. Now, Fred Durst is giving the genre a shot with The Longshots, a true tale about the first female quarterback to ever lead the Minden Browns to a Pop Warner Super Bowl.
Led by the infamous Ice Cube and relative unknown Keke Palmer, The Longshots attempts to recreate the magic that was Jasmine Plummer. Unfortunately, the film lacks in both story and depth as it quickly becomes a bore, ultimately running well past the attention threshold of most movie-goers.
While the film did carry some potential, I must admit that all signs of a great film were lost within the first ten minutes. From the stereotypical loner turned athlete to the school-athlete returns town to glory, the film provides little creative content and almost no true reason for watching.
Additionally, I have to complain about the typical estranged father role that is all too present in these films. I understand that the story is based on true accounts and that Jasmine is a true person. But I also feel that consistently having this type of barrier in a story only hinders the film in the long run. Instead of focusing on Jasmine's rise to fame, audience members are distracted by what is occurring off the field. Because of this, they fail to realize the true accomplishment that is achieved and the true admiration that the character deserves.
Thankfully, there are a few positives to the film. For one, it is one of the first that showcases a girl entering into the havoc world of what is socially considered a man's sport. Jasmine successfully overcomes all odds and proves herself on a city-wide football team. However, little difficulty is shown in her acceptance, simply because director Fred Durst chose not to focus on it.
Then there is the acting, which wasn't terrific, but was leaps and bounds above what it could have been. Featuring Ice Cube, a once rapper who is steadily making a name for himself on the big screen, and Keke Palmer of Akeelah and the Bee fame, the film is decently portrayed and thankfully not held back based on the performances alone. Could they have been better? Of course. However, they were good enough to sell this film.
Sadly, there was simply no saving this film. From the inadequate direction to the all-too familiar story, The Longshots started in a hole too deep to dig itself out of. Hopefully, this film will prove that every feel-good sports story isn't worth making into a movie and the genre will get back to creating the rare instances of pure magic. Until then, it looks like we will have to bear with the generic and overdone inspirational sports film that we have all grown to ignore.