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Longshots, Ice Cube, Keke Palmer

MGM

Review in a Hurry: Ice Cube plays Curtis Plummer, a former high school football star who discovers his niece (Keke Palmer) has talent for the game. Based on the real-life of Jasmine Plummer, this story ought to have all the heart and drama needed, but the onscreen version is too sloppy to even get the clichés right.

The Bigger Picture: Curtis is down on his luck, an ex-jock now unemployed and reduced to babysitting his niece. Jasmine is an outcast, abandoned by her "no-good daddy," and picked on by the pretty girls. Then Jasmine throws a football, and Curtis makes it his mission to get her on the local Pop Warner team. When the regular coach succumbs to the pressure of after-school football—no, seriously—Curtis steps in, and takes the team to the championship.

Cube has considerable presence, but he reads his lines as if they're on cue cards. That might be due to the training-wheels direction from former Limp Bizkit frontman and Britney paramour Fred Durst. Instead of scenes, we get montage after montage. People say lines like "She scored! She's on the team!" just in case you missed it. The ever-present soundtrack tells you when to cheer, when to be sad and when to be tense—which is good, because the script sure doesn't.

This might have been fine as a Lifetime movie of the week, but on the big screen, it's just more bland family fun from the guy who once rapped, "F--k tha police."

The 180—a Second Opinion: At least this will keep Durst away from a Limp Bizkit reunion tour. For now.