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.