‘White Men Can’t Jump’ Overview: Bouncing Off the Rim
The 1992 sports activities comedy “White Men Can’t Jump,” written and directed by Ron Shelton, was a cheeky, provocative movie that took a raucously skewed view of race relations and road ball. It’s a popular movie, however not so immortal that the prospect of a remake would encourage ideas of sacrilege.
So this movie, directed by Calmatic from a script by Kenya Barris and Doug Hall, feels much less like a desecration than a missed alternative. And as missed alternatives go, it’s fairly severe.
The pickup basketball companions listed below are the rapper Jack Harlow as Jeremy, who’s white, and the actor Sinqua Walls as Kamal, who’s Black. Kamal was a promising high-school participant whose downfall is revealed by way of gradual flashbacks. Jeremy has two blown-out knees, a painkiller habit and a burgeoning status as a con artist. Both have the standard-issue “sturdy ladies” of their lives, and each are fixed disappointments to those ladies.
In the 1992 image, lead actors Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes have been animated sufficient to make you imagine they might leap proper out of the body. Their feminine foil was performed by Rosie Perez, and her subplot — involving her changing into a contestant on the TV quiz present “Jeopardy!” — was one of many movie’s many quirky delights.
This model has little quirk and fewer spark. While Harlow is a recreation and succesful comedic performer up to some extent — he demonstrated as a lot when he hosted “Saturday Night Live” final yr — he doesn’t have Harrelson’s near-anarchic unpredictability. And Walls, whereas interesting, can’t get inside placing distance of Snipes’ depth.
The script by Barris and Hall, each veterans of the tv sitcom “black-ish,” does the actors no favors. A scene wherein Jeremy brings a bottle of Hennessy brandy to Kamal’s child’s celebration, hoping to point out off his “authenticity” with respect to Black tastes in booze, is supposed to be humorous. One might see the way it could be; but it surely falls awkwardly flat. And do that on for exposition: “My woman’s a loopy proficient choreographer who’s losing her time instructing courses at a dance studio as a result of my revenue’s so shaky proper now.” Thanks for the replace, Jeremy.
Near the top of the film, Kamal’s father, Benji, performed by the spectacularly proficient Lance Reddick, has to ship this stilted line to his son from a hospital mattress: “My largest remorse isn’t providing you with the instruments to work by way of your issues.”
The supposed trash discuss that Kamal and Jeremy change all through, typically good-naturedly and typically in earnest, is equally uninspired. By the time we get to the second half of the narrative, the film has deserted the typically near-screwball comedy of the Shelton movie and pivoted to triumph-over-adversity drama, full with big-money video games the duo can’t resist, regardless of the percentages in opposition to them. The basketball motion is much like the script, that’s, indifferently staged and shot. This film not solely doesn’t leap, it barely will get off the sofa.
White Men Can’t Jump
Rated R for, what else, language. Running time: 1 hour 41 minutes. Watch on Hulu.