"Funny, Heartwarming Comedy Marred by Some Crude Jokes and Blue Language"
What You Need To Know:
CHAMPIONS is a hilarious, touching comedy, with many heartwarming moments. The acting is top notch. Also, Writer/Director Bobby Farrelly fashions a natural, realistic comedy that seems both fresh and real, without losing any traditional film comedy conventions. That said, CHAMPIONS has more than 50 obscenities and profanities. Many, if not most, of them are light, however. The movie also has some crude sex jokes, and it’s clearly implied that the two romantic leads repeatedly sleep together. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for CHAMPIONS.
CHAMPIONS is a sports comedy starring Woody Harrelson as a minor league basketball coach who must do 90 days of community service in Des Moines, Iowa coaching a local group of mentally challenged young men in the Special Olympics program who don’t have a snowball’s chance to make it to the international finals, or do they? CHAMPIONS is a hilarious, heartwarming movie about an oddball group of people brought together by circumstance, but the movie has no overt Christian, biblical content, and it’s marred by too much foul language and a few crude sex jokes.
The movie opens with Marcus, a down-on-his-luck assistant basketball coach for a minor league team in Iowa, sitting in bed after a one-night stand with a woman named Alex. She gets upset about his attitude, and they have a silly argument, so Alex storms out of the room.
That night, the team has a chance to win the game by making a basket at the last minute, but Marcus doesn’t like the play Coach Phil Perretti calls on the sidelines. In the middle of their argument, Marcus shoves Phil, and Marcus is fired.
Marcus goes to a nearby bar to drown his sorrows, but on the way home, he stares at two policemen arresting a man and crashes into their police car. The female judge orders Marcus to coach a local group of mentally challenged young men in the Special Olympics program.
At first, Marcus seems out of his depth. However, some advice from Coach Phil about getting to know his players, changes the dynamic and his new players start to respond to his coaching. After a couple comical misadventures, they start winning games. In fact, they just may get to be invited to the North American championship coming up in Winnipeg, Canada.
Meanwhile, Marcus learns that the sister of one of his players, Jimmy, is none other than Alex, who he learns loves to perform Shakespeare locally. They begin an affair, but a problem ensues when Jimmy learns what’s happening between his sister and his coach.
CHAMPIONS is a hilarious, touching comedy with many heartwarming moments. Woody Harrelson and Kaitlin Olson as the two romantic leads get great support from Ernie Hudson, Cheech Marin, Matt Cooke, and Barbara Pollard. The standouts as the players are Madison Tevlin, Joshua Felder, Kevin Ianucci, and Casey Metcalfe. Casey may remind some of Danny DeVito in his breakout performance in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST. He’s very funny as the team’s earnest know-it-all. Also, Madison Tevlin is hilarious as the team’s feisty female player. Kevin Ianucci delivers a friendly, warm-hearted performance as Alex’s brother, who refuses to take a shower until Marcus tricks him into saving a helpless mouse that gets stuck in one of the shower drains. Last but not least, Joshua Felder is deftly funny and dramatic as Darius, who refuses to play for Marcus because of an incident in his past. One reviewer complained that the movie treats its mentally disabled actors as comical props, but comedy is Writer/Director Bobby Farrelly’s forte, and he does a great job here. In fact, CHAMPIONS is probably his most natural, realistic comedy. The story has some formulaic aspects, but most of the scenes come across as fresh and real.
That said, CHAMPIONS has more than 50 obscenities and profanities. Many, if not most, of them are light, however. Also, the movie has some crude sex jokes, and it’s clearly implied that the two romantic leads repeatedly sleep together.
So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for CHAMPIONS.
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