Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

The Longshots


Review by Patrick Hodges

Uplifting true-to-life underdog sports stories are nothing new.  Heck, we’ve been inundated with a veritable cornucopia of them just in the last few years alone.  As it pertains to football, we’ve had Invincible, Gridiron Gang, We Are Marshall and The Express just in the last two years alone.  All based on true stories, which is, let’s face it, the best kind of underdog story there is.

Grouped together with those titles, though with considerably less fanfare than some, is The Longshots, which tells the story of Jasmine Plummer (played by Akeelah and the Bee’s Keke Palmer), who became the first girl to play in the Pop Warner football tournament in its 56-year history.  But, like most underdog stories, it goes a little deeper than that.

When we meet Jasmine, we see that she is a shy, nerdish bookworm type, preferring to spend her quiet time reading than “hanging out”.  She still pines for her father, who walked out on her and her mother (Tasha Smith) years before.  In an attempt to get her daughter to doing something, anything, social, she enlists the help of Jasmine’s unemployed and down-and-out uncle Curtis (Ice Cube) who, after a rocky start, discovers that Jasmine has a better than average throwing arm.

Being an ex-football star himself, he starts showing her the ropes at being a quarterback, until it comes time to convince the coach of the local Pop Warner team to give her a tryout.  Skeptical at first, and given that his team is mired in last place, he gives her a shot.  And you can guess where the story goes from there.

But The Longshots is not just about social acceptance, or breaking the gender barrier, or what have you.  It’s the story about a town, one of thousands of small industrial towns that dot the maps of America, that struggles to stay afloat when the “boom” has long gone from the industry.  It’s about community, and family, and support.  Oh, and a feel-good sports story with some humor thrown in.

If this is your cup of tea, then give this film a look-see.  If, on the other hand, this is a genre you feel is played out, well… see it anyway.  You could sure do a lot worse.  I mean, seriously.  Have you seen what the spoof genre has turned into lately?

3 ½ / 5 stars

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