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Like Mike (PG)
Official Site
Director: John Schultz
Producers: Barry Josephson, Peter Heller
Written by: Jordan Moffet, Michael Elliot
Cast: Lil Bow Wow, Morris Chestnut, Crispin Glover, Eugene Levy, Robert Forster, Jonathan Lipnicki, Anne Meara

Rating: out of 5

Like Mike opened July 3, hoping to tap into what is the busiest movie weekend of the year. How does it measure up to the expectedly stiff competition?

Most importantly, one must understand this movie is marketed toward and made for a specific audience, namely very young boys and girls. As such, it follows a very standard formula of a boy’s honest and selfless ways triumphing over all and his attaining true happiness.

Since we all know the destination, how is the ride? As children’s movies go, this one is pretty good. The star (Lil Bow Wow) is not nearly as annoying as many child actors are and the supporting cast is rife with talented performers and real-life basketball stars. The humor in the film is completely inoffensive and usually successful at massaging a few chuckles out of the audience. This Lil Bow Wow is apparently a rap star of some sort, so there’s a music video or two, but they segue nicely into the movie.

The story plays very much like a fairy tale. Hard-working orphan Calvin Cambridge longs to be a basketball star and even more importantly, to be adopted. One day he receives a pair of shoes with the initials “MJ,” and suddenly he’s got game. Before you know it, he has a contract with the down-on-their-luck Los Angeles Knights, a contract his evil guardian (Glover) is all too eager to reap the benefits of. The coach (Forster) assigns player Tracey Reynolds (Chestnut) to watch over Calvin on away games. This situation is far from ideal, as Tracey had some kind of unexplained falling out with his father and has no interest in assuming the father-figure role.

This movie is very good at what it sets out to do because really, what kid (or adult) doesn’t want to become a sports star? If you have to take some kids out to the movies, this one is easy to recommend.

—Woodrow Bogucki


hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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