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Like Mike (2002)

An orphan finds out what it takes to play basketball like Michael Jordan

Directed by:

John Schultz

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 95 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

On DVD

Country: United States

Teen rapper Lil Bow Wow stars as 14-year-old Calvin Cambridge, an orphan whose dream is to be adopted by a family but is always overlooked in favour of the younger children. He lives in an orphanage run by Stan Bittleman (Crispin Glover), a self-serving crook who sends his orphans out to sell sweets to the crowds in the car park at the local team's basketball games. Calvin's life starts to change when he acquires a pair of cast off sneakers, that he is told once belonged to a basketball star – his excitement rises when he sees the initials "MJ" inside the shoes and wonders if they came from his hero Michael Jordan.

Calvin is chosen in a draw during a half-time promotion at a basketball game to go one-on-one against star player Tracey Reynolds (Morris Chestnut), and discovers that he can play spectacularly – a feat that he attributes to the "magic" shoes he is wearing. He is immediately hired as a player in a PR stunt designed to boost sagging audience attendances and promptly proves his worth to the team. Reynolds is reluctantly assigned to mentor the boy, but he too has his own problems. Calvin will need to overcome bullies at the orphanage and the greed and jealousy of Bittleman if he is to win his way through in both basketball and the adoption stakes.

This is a cheerful and lively family comedy, but there is little in it that hasn't been done better by a whole raft of other kids-in-sport fantasy movies. Lil Bow Wow actually shows some promise as an actor, but is held back here by the limitations of the script and plot he is given. Crispin Glover does make an adequately creepy orphanage superintendent, but he too is wasted. There is enough action and humour in the film that it is likely to keep the kids amused, but adults will find it rather predictable and lacking in novelty.

Features a large number of professional US basketball players appearing as themselves.

It's Got: Plenty of good clean fun.

It Needs: Something that hasn’t been done better before.

DVD Extras Some more family-oriented extras would have been appreciated with this DVD. Extras: Commentary with director John Schultz and actors Lil Bow Wow and Jonathan Lipnicki, Featurettes, Deleted scenes, Music promo spot. Music video: "Basketball" by Lil Bow Wow. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

Angels in the Outfield., Rookie of the Year, There's Only One Jimmy Grimble

Summary

Cheerful but unremarkable orphan-makes-good comedy – this one may keep the kids amused but is hardly a classic of the genre.

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