Parents' Guide to

Champions

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Feel-good but predictable comedy has cursing, racy moments.

Movie PG-13 2023 123 minutes
Champions Movie Poster: Marcus is in the center on a yellow background with members of The Friends team sitting beside him on a courtside bench underneath the title "Champions"

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 13+

Wonderful family movie for older kids

A star deducted for the language. If your child can watch a Marvels movie, then they can handle the profanity in this film. The incredible journey of the special needs kids washes out the profanity and mild sex scenes. My 15 year old son who is used to action, violence and comedy LOVEd this movie. The few sex scenes involve a woman laying naked with a sheet wrapped around her laying in bed next to Woody Harrelson. The kids (midddleschoolers to early teens) in the film use profanity a handful of times. For example, the girl says “grow the f@@@ up” when the team wanted to quit. As a parent, I am so happy we chose to see this film in the theatre. I hope that it does very well in the box office. We can use more movies like this one that promotes hope, love , kindness and resilience.
age 18+

Blown Opportunity

There is a major theme, supported by dozens of trashy locker room type zingers that ruined this movies chances to be something that respectfully represents this population. What could have been a go-to movie for special needs people being champions, instead chose to bottom feed for cheap laughs with trashy gutter talk. Blown opportunity!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (3 ):

This sports comedy could have gone terribly wrong, yet it manages to avoid condescending to its disabled actors. Champions isn't cruel, nor does it punch down: Each member of The Friends team is given time to show their personality and individuality. Still, that doesn't mean that their role isn't to support the journey of a nondisabled character (because it is) or that the movie isn't wholly predictable (because it follows the exact beats of both a sports drama and a hero's journey). We know from the first moment we see him that Marcus is a gruff-yet-lovable guy who's destined to be emotionally softened up by his experiences during the movie and that the whole thing will end in laughter and hugs.

Yet despite Champions' lack of surprises, it does have its charms, chief among them The Friends teammates, who all play to their strengths. Johnny gets the most screen time and the most distinctive arc as he gathers the courage to break free from his overprotective family. But other teammates have their own minor arcs, including Benny (James Day Keith), who confronts an abusive boss, and Darius (Joshua Felder), who begins to resolve his lingering anger at the drunk driver who unwittingly changed the course of his life. These powerful moments are summed up when Marcus explains to his team that it doesn't matter whether they win or lose on the basketball court because they've already won by confronting and rising above the ignorant judgment of people who write them off. OK, so that speech was predictable, too. But Marcus still has a point, and Champions will put a smile on many viewers' faces -- especially those who are OK with a movie that has no surprises but plenty of heart.

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