Uncle Drew Movie Review
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After debuting his UNCLE DREW character in Pepsi Max advertisements in 2012, Kyrie Irving brings the old man to the big screen in the surprisingly funny title role alongside basketball legends Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Shaquille O’Neal, Nate Robinson, and Lisa Leslie.
LilRel Howery, hot off a breakout role in last year’s Get Out, leads the cast as Dax, a 30-something orphan who works at Foot Locker, dates and lives with his rude and selfish girlfriend Jess (a sassy Tiffany Haddish), and has proclaimed himself to be the best street ball coach in the land. With a roster that includes basketball phenom Casper (Orlando Magic’s Aaron Gordon), the famed Rucker Classic $100,000 top prize is within reach until Dax’s longtime nemesis, and seven-time winner of the Rucker Classic, Mookie (Nick Kroll) steals Casper and Dax’s only real chance to improve his life and relationship.
Forced to field a new team, Dax faces rejection from dozens of street ball players until he comes upon one-time street ball legend, and now 70-something year old, Uncle Drew, and convinces him to come back and play. With Uncle Drew’s stipulation that it be his team and roster, he and Dax criss-cross the east coast to convince former teammates Lights (Miller), Preacher (Webber), Big Fella (O’Neal), and Boots (Robinson) to reunite for the tournament. Most of the gang including a hunched-over Preacher, legally blind Lights, and wheelchair-bound Boots willingly re-join their old friend, but Big Fella still holds a grudge against Uncle Drew for breaking up the team in the late 60’s over a girl.
Uncle Drew suffers most when it’s preaching about family, missed opportunities, believing in yourself, and other hokey themes, yet the film is ultimately a good, wholesome sports comedy. The young vs. old dynamic brings along many laughs from Uncle Drew’s Boom Boom Room to an epic dance-off at a club. And, while it’s safe to say that none of these NBA idols will win an Oscar for their roles, each holds his own. Webber owns a few of the funniest scenes and one of the best lines that even a Wolverine will chuckle at. This is a Hollywood film though and it’s ultimately actor and comedian Nick Kroll who steals every scene he is in as the guy you want to hate but who is so devilishly evil that you can’t help but love him.
Released during the summer when the cineplex is often overcrowded with action films, Uncle Drew offers a nice break from typical summer fare.