is a modest charmer of a film, perfectly suitable for the whole family, that just happens to star (and was produced by) a hard-core gangsta rapper and was directed by a dude whose best-known previous contribution to the arts was a tune called "Nookie." OK, so its no bulletin that Ice Cube is an actor whos improving with every role, as that aspect of his career gradually overshadows his profile as a member of the hip-hop group N.W.A. But Fred Durst, vocalist for "nu metal" rockers Limp Bizkit? This guys now a movie director? Well, yeah; and between them, Durst and Cube have done nice job telling the true tale of Jasmine Plummer, who became the first female to play in the Pop Warner football tournament--as a quarterback, no less. A middle-school student in Minden, Illinois, a bleak little burg whose fortunes have declined precipitously since the local factory closed down, Jasmine (winningly played by Keke Palmer) is a bookworm with a loving mom (Tasha Smith), a deadbeat liar of a dad, and no friends. When her mother recruits her uncle Curtis (Ice Cube) to look after her for a few hours after school, neither he nor Jasmine is thrilled by the idea. Curtis has no job and no prospects (when he stumbles into Jasmines classroom during "career day," he amusingly describes himself as "an entrepreneur"); whats more, he quite literally smells. But hes also a former high school football star, and when he sees that his niece has natural talent and desire--she is, in fact, "a phenom"--he teaches her the ropes, then encourages her to try out for the Browns, Mindens Pop Warner team. One neednt be an oracle to see where all this is headed; with its themes of self-esteem and redemption, the triumph of the downtrodden, and the virtues of family ties, sportsmanship, and smalltown life, its pretty formulaic stuff. Whats more, the film loses its focus toward the end when it favors Curtis story over Jasmines. Still, these are characters we can care about, making The Longshots
a winner. Bonus material includes a "making of" featurette, interviews with Cube and Durst, and a look at the real Jasmine Plummer. --Sam Graham
A fun, inspirational and heartwarming story of the first and only girl quarterback in Pop Warner football history and her uncle's exciting journey to make a team of misfits kids into a Pop Warner powerhouse.
Stills from The Longshots (Click for larger image)