By Nell Minow,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Lightweight but likeable football story.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Positive Role Models
The team is multiracial and includes a deaf player.
Violence & Scariness
Football violence, bar fight, punches and shoves.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Suggestive dancing by cheerleaders, sexual references.
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Some strong and salty language.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A lot of drinking and smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie includes some salty language, sexual references, and highly suggestive cheerleader moves. There is also substantial violence on and off the field, mostly punching and shoving, and a few mildly gross moments as well. Characters smoke and drink, and there are scenes in bars.
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Where to Watch
Based on 4 parent reviews
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What's the Story?
When pro football players go on strike, former coach Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman) is called in to assemble a new team for the Washington Sentinals. The other teams quickly hire professionals, but McGinty focuses on his file of talented players who for one reason or another, have never played pro ball. One had an injured knee, one is in prison, one is deaf, one is a Welsh soccer player, one is a sumo wrestler, and one, Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves) was a college superstar who quit after a disastrous showing at the Sugar Bowl. As McGinty says, these guys get "what every athlete dreams of, a second chance." They get to play for the love of the game and the challenge of defeating the other guys and their own demons. Loners get to be a part of a team. Their time on the field may be brief, but they leave forever changed.
Is It Any Good?
This is definitely a feel-good movie, and even though it asks us to suspend a little disbelief, we get to see "everyday guys" playing in the big league. It is a delicious fantasy and just plain fun to watch. Director Howard Deutch takes no chances, loading up the soundtrack with every classic sports movie standard from "We Will Rock You" to Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll, Part II," and adding in some replacement cheerleaders who come from a strip club for some sizzle.
It all comes together nicely, and there are some very funny spots along the way. The romance between Falco and head cheerleader Annabelle Farrell (Brooke Langton) is handled nicely, making it clear that it is not until he begins to feel better about himself that he can allow himself to get close to her. The team's growing sense of loyalty and dignity and the coach's faith in them are warmly portrayed. And, when all else fails, the football games are a hoot.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what it is that makes people feel good about themselves, how a leader can make all the difference on a team, and whether fame and money hurt professional athletes and sports. Families should also talk about the coach's comment that the difference between a winner and a loser is that a winner gets back on the horse and keeps trying.
- In theaters: August 11, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: November 28, 2000
- Cast: Brooke Langton, Gene Hackman, Keanu Reeves
- Director: Howard Deutch
- Inclusion Information: Polynesian/Pacific Islander actors
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language, suggestive dancing, and sexual references
- Last updated: June 2, 2023
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