Making us further witnesses to the self-anointed King of the Courts, More than a Game charts the course of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James and his childhood friends from young basketball contenders to high-school national champions. Despite an effort to spread the focus around, it’s no shock to discover that ’Bron—the gifted manchild who leapfrogged straight to the NBA and stands as the league’s reigning MVP—is the sports doc’s main attraction. Yet it is surprising to find the typically guarded icon momentarily opening up when Mom discusses his difficult childhood; the hurt spied in James’s eyes provides a rare glimpse at the Clark Kent side of the small forward’s superman persona.
The movie is otherwise split evenly between his teammates and coach Dru Joyce, whose surrogate-familial bonds helped them overcome personal and athletic obstacles. Throughout, the vital importance of friendship and the value of hard work are repetitively referenced. Yet director Kristopher Belman only skims the surface; even his depiction of the admirable Joyce (who ditched corporate America to chase his dream of being a mentor) shows a preference for tidy sound bites over intense inquiry. With the film heavily favoring extensive on-court footage at the expense of in-depth individual portraits, the “more” offered here is merely skin-deep, basketball-is-a-brotherhood uplift.—Nick Schager
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