Based on a true story, The Longshots has all the elements of a classic feel-good sports film: the lovable team of misfits, the scrappy girl, the burned-out ex-player and the “down-on-their-luck townsfolk who are rejuvenated by the team’s unexpected success” angle. Unfortunately, director Fred Durst blends all of these time-honored components with the same skill level that he brought to the stage with his crappy band Limp Bizkit.
Granted, Ice Cube is pretty awesome as Curtis, the unemployed former football player. His transformation from beer-swilling bum to beer-swilling Knute Rockne is nothing short of inspirational. Charged with the initially unwelcome task of minding his niece Jasmine (Palmer), Curtis teaches her how to play football and later convinces her to try out for the local Minton Browns. Despite all of the clichés, The Longshots has its moments (such as when Curtis stumbles into his niece’s class for career day and explains why what he does isn’t a pyramid scheme) but doesn’t quite score. The film definitely needs a more tangible antagonist—Jasmine’s Mean Girls–y classmates just don’t cut it. Perhaps if the final game had been against a ritzy prep school and Waspy kids with names like Trevor and Hamilton, the formula would’ve been more satisfying.