"Faith and Optimism Overcome Grumpiness"
Michael Jordan, the great basketball player for the World Champion Chicago Bulls, has been pretty much out of the national limelight for several years, but his effect on our culture remains high. This summer, there’s a family movie from 20th Century Fox that plays on that popularity, LIKE MIKE.
Teenage rapper Lil Bow Wow plays 13-year-old Calvin Cambridge, a small-sized orphan living at the Chesterfield Group Home in Los Angeles. Calvin and his buddies are bullied by another teenage orphan, Ox, who has a pessimistic outlook on life, because the prospective adoptive parents only want to take home the younger children.
One day, their teacher, Sister Theresa, brings some clothes for the orphans, including a pair of tennis shoes that supposedly belonged to a famous basketball player when he was a child. The shoes fit Calvin perfectly. He and his friends are amazed when they see that the shoes have the initials “MJ” on them. Ox is envious of the shoes, so he throws them over an electrical wire out of reach. That night, Calvin goes to retrieve the shoes in the rain, but a lightning strike throws him and the shoes to the ground.
Calvin runs into the coach of the Los Angeles Knights while he and the children are selling candy to raise funds for the orphanage, which is run by a crook named Bittleman. The coach gives him tickets to one of the games. At the game, Calvin’s seat number is picked for the half-time one-on-one with Tracey Reynolds, the team’s star player played by Morris Chestnut.
Suddenly, Calvin can do things on the basketball court that not even Tracey can do. The Knights’ general manager decides to hire Calvin for a day as a stunt to bring more fans to the next game. Although they don’t plan to play Calvin, Calvin comes up with a good play for the Knights, so the coach decides why not let Calvin be the shooter on the one play. After some comical developments, Calvin makes the shot and leads the team to victory, with 27 points of his own.
The Knights give Calvin a contract, but the evil manager of the orphanage horns in on the deal as Calvin’s guardian. Meanwhile, the coach orders Tracey to mentor Calvin and room with him. Tracey is not pleased with this situation. Calvin slowly wins Tracey over as the Knights start winning game after game.
LIKE MIKE is an energetic, funny movie. Although it loses some of that energy in the second half, the characters carry the story along until the fun finish. First-time performer Lil Bow Wow does a surprisingly good job, as do the other children. The adults around him lend fine support to this sports fantasy.
LIKE MIKE also has a strong moral worldview that contains a positive outlook on faith and prayer. Calvin encourages Tracey to pray with him in one scene, and Tracey watches in amazement as Calvin goes through a series of God bless you’s, not only for their coach but also for Tracey himself. There are only some mildly objectionable elements. For instance, there are a few mild obscenities and profanities from some adult characters. There are also a couple references to the apparent magic contained in the lightning-struck shoes, but the “magic” really comes after Calvin appears to say a little prayer, “Make me like Mike.” Thus, the main context to the story is Calvin’s faith and the support he gets from his friends. Calvin himself displays caring for other people, not only by saying prayers for them, but also by reaching out to Tracey and helping Tracey improve his own life. The movie also has a positive view of adoption and makes fun of extreme cases of bad parenting. Finally, Anne Meara plays a Roman Catholic nun who encourages Calvin to do his homework.
(BBB, CC, O, L, V, N, M) Very strong moral worldview with some solidly positive Christian, redemptive content including a prayer with several God bless you’s, older man reconciles with his father, and a friendly Roman Catholic nun who helps out an orphanage and stresses the importance of homework to protagonist, slightly marred by a couple mentions of “magic” shoes; about four “d” obscenities, three light profanities and characters say, “dang”; some slapstick violence and physical contact on basketball court, such as player knocks 13-year-old boy across part of the court, boy gets shocked by trying to take tennis shoes off an electrical wire and chase sequence between cars and children on electric scooters; no sex but player invites girl up to his room, but nothing sexual happens; some mild locker room nudity; no alcohol use; no smoking; and, gambling and a pragmatic solution in one scene.
LIKE MIKE tells the story of 13-year-old orphan Calvin Cambridge, who finds tennis shoes that may have been basketball player Michael Jordan’s when he was young. A bolt of lightning energizes the shoes, and Calvin is able to play “like Mike.” He joins the slumping Los Angeles Knights. Calvin’s prayers and optimism turn the team around and melt the heart of the team’s star player, Tracey, who’s estranged from his own father. The evil manager of Calvin’s orphanage, however, has plans of his own that endanger plans to find a good family and get into the playoffs.
LIKE MIKE is an energetic, funny movie. Although it loses some of that energy in the second half, the characters carry the story until the fun finish. First-time performer Lil Bow Wow does a surprisingly good job, as do the other children and the adults. LIKE MIKE also has a strong moral worldview with a positive outlook on faith and prayer. There are only a few minor objectionable elements in the movie, but the main context of the movie is Calvin’s faith and the support he gets from his friends. Calvin also helps other people and displays honesty.