Uncle Drew Movie Review
“Uncle Drew” is a movie that started as a series of viral web ads for Pepsi. Say what!? Yes, the current NBA star Kyrie Irving was put into ‘old man’ make-up and went around basketball courts to show the ‘youngbloods’ how to play the game. Basketball as played by a white-haired old fart – who could actually fool the fresh-faced young fellows into thinking he couldn’t do squat, and then run and jump and dunk on the fools. Yeah, it was good for a while, and then somebody got the brilliant idea to turn that into a full-length movie. And not just one old NBA geezer – let’s have an entire team!
So an orphan kid named Dax (LilRel Howery) who was terrible playing basketball finds himself as coach in midtown New York City. His team has mad skillz and they are ready to play in the Rucker Classic street ball tournament, located in Harlem. His girlfriend Jess (Tiffany Haddish) has eyes on the Classic purse, the big money cash prize that can fuel her next shopping spree. Dax then finds out that his major rival Mookie (Nick Kroll) has stolen his star player, his entire team and his girlfriend. Before you can say ‘urban legend’, Dax meets up with Uncle Drew (Kyrie Irving). Uncle Drew has been out of the spotlight since the ’70s, and his wins at the Rucker Classic are a thing a beauty.
But now Uncle Drew looks like a shriveled up old man. But he still shows Dax he’s got the moves. Drew agrees to play in the Classic, but only if he can get his old team back together. Before you can say ‘road trip’, Dax is onboard Uncle Drew’s customized van, which looks like an outtake form ‘Pimp My Ride’. Drew locates and convinces his past squad to come and play the Classic one more time. He gets Preacher (Chris Webber), but first has to elude Preacher’s wife Betty Lou (Lisa Leslie). She does not want him to go back to his old ways. They then find Lights (Reggie Miller) who has the wants to join in, but might be legally blind. They continue on and next find Boots (Nate Robinson), who is a nursing home. His granddaughter Maya (Erica Ash) says he goes nowhere without her to guide him.
The next stop is to get Big Fella (Shaquille O’Neal). But there is some real bad blood between Uncle Drew and Old Fella, so things might not work out. Dax is ready to get to the Rucker Classic so he can have a winning team. But this group of old fossils have none of the chemistry that they used to have. There is still a big rivalry with Mookie and the players that used to be loyal to Dax. Mookie does nothing but trash-talk the oldsters, so get their old motivations back. Betty Lou finally finds the crew, and she is hopping mad. Not mad they are going to be playing basketball, but more mad that they did not invite her…
Uncle Drew and Big Fella get it worked out, and all the other team plays get a boost of basketball mojo. They take on all the other teams, until it only Dax and Mookie’s up for the final showdown. The Big Fella has a medical scare, and Betty Lou comes in off the bench. But in clutch time, it all comes down to Dax – will he rise to the occasion and be able to take a shot to score for glory?
So you want an old formula ‘sports comeback movie’? Every cliché is in here. There is the two rivals who meet on the court. There is the player who lacks self-confidence, only to come back in the final stretch. There are the old-time players who hold a long standing grudge. There is the key player who gets side-lined with an injury, winds up in the hospital – then displays his wide-load booty in a hospital gown wardrobe accident. Well, maybe that last one is not a cliché, but now you have been warned!
This is a movie that is not looking for any Oscar recognition, especially in the Hair and Makeup Category. The ‘old guy’ looks are passable at best. So Uncle Drew started as a commercial, and it grew into a full length movie. It does not always score, but it does shoot some easy layups. But more often that that, it throws quite a few bricks.
Uncle Drew Review
Uncle Drew Summary
Directed by: Charles Stone III
Written by: Jay Longino
Starring: Kyrie Irving, Lil Rel Howery, Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, Lisa Leslie, Erica Ash, Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll
Length: 103 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for suggestive material, language and brief nudity
Genre: Sports Comedy