• wessingleton

Uncle Drew, C+


Rated PG-13, 103 minutes The charming but thin sports comedy “Uncle Drew” has some fun moments and admittedly, and the surprising thing: it’s not as bad you might think given that it’s based on a series of Pepsi commercials. That said, outside of some decent basketball, there still isn’t much to the modestly enjoyable film that features some current and former NBA and WNBA stars, most in bad make up jobs and who do their best with the hit-or-miss script. After draining his life savings to enter a team in the Rucker Classic street basketball tournament in Harlem, Dax (“Get Out’s” Lil Rel Howery) is dealt a series of unfortunate setbacks, including losing his team to his longtime rival (“Big Mouth’s” Nick Kroll). Desperate to win the tournament and the cash prize, Dax stumbles upon a basketball legend named Uncle Drew (Boston Celtic Kyrie Irving) and convinces him to return to the court. The two men round up Drew's old basketball squad (basketball veterans Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller and Nate Robinson) and prove that a group of old guys can still win the big one. The appealing yet uneven “Uncle Drew” is directed by Charles Stone III (“Drumline”) and written by Jay Longino and proves that sports stars, while they may still have athletic abilities, their acting abilities are another story; however, on the flip side, there's the diminutive Howery, the comic relief from last year’s Oscar-winning “Get Out" and who is a strong comic presence here, carrying the film along with fellow comedians Tiffany Haddish ("Girls Trip") as his girlfriend and “Kroll Show’s” Nick Kroll as a longtime rival. The NBA stars do their best with the lackluster script and limited acting skills, though they do come alive in the game scenes, which are the highlight of the film, particularly in the last act. Irving is charming as the title character made famous in the Pepsi commercials, and while the others aren’t as memorable, watch for WNBA star Lisa Leslie, who has fun as an overbearing wife of one of the guys. Until the energetic last act, “Uncle Drew” is a predictable road trip of sight gags and and loads of Howery’s one-liners. Sports (or Pepsi) enthusiasts may get the most out of it, but it has some enough entertaining moments to keep it going until the final buzzer.


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