A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Crooked Arrows is an inspirational sports drama about a ragtag team of Native American teen lacrosse players and their reluctant new coach. It received its PG-13 rating primarily for comedic use of the word "vagina" (seen only in subtitles), but other than that, there's not much that's iffy for younger viewers. Violence is restricted to the lacrosse field, with pushes, slams, body-checks, and falls. Some teens are injured, but very little blood is shown. There's some mild innuendo and images of sexy (but clothed) girls dancing on a bar top in a casino. Adult characters are seen with whisky in one scene. Kids and teens will learn about Native American culture, including the fact that Native Americans invented lacrosse more than 1,000 years ago.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
Mixed-blood Native American Joe Logan (Brandon Routh) runs a successful casino and is negotiating to sell off part of his ancestral land to build an even bigger one. But before the elders approve the sale, they have a condition: Joe must "examine his spirit" by coaching the ragtag lacrosse team. At first Joe doesn't take the job seriously, but he soon becomes involved with the lost, unfocused teens. Before long, he's gone back to his roots and discovered how to make the team really work together. But can they defeat a team of wealthy white kids in the championship game?
Is it any good?
Director Steve Rash has made ultra-lowbrow comedies in Hollywood for three decades, and this attempt at a drama is pretty routine, but it demonstrates why some clichés became clichés: they work. CROOKED ARROWS is basically The Bad News Bears without all of the humor, though the tone is still fairly light. What gives it a new twist is the natural heroic, underdog status of the Native American characters, as well as the historical and technical information on the sport of lacrosse.
Routh also helps a great deal; when he played Superman, he was fairly bland onscreen, but since then he's learned how to bring humanity and humility to his characters. Joe is hugely appealing, and his journey is believable, even when the script rushes it. It's too bad Crooked Arrows didn't have time for more interaction with individual players or a more memorable team of bad guys. But by the end, it's difficult not to cheer for the good guys.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Crooked Arrows' themes. How does lacrosse help the main character "explore his spirit"? What does he learn? Is it better to have a strong spirit than a lot of money?
Does the movie have a realistic standard for boys' body image? Are there any lacrosse players with less-than-perfect bodies?
Are the games violent? Is this kind of violence necessary in lacrosse?
How are Native Americans depicted in this movie? Is there any stereotyping?
- In theaters: May 18, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: October 23, 2012
- Cast: Brandon Routh, Chelsea Ricketts, Crystal Allen
- Director: Steve Rash
- Studios: Branded Pictures Entertainment, Peck Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Great Boy Role Models, High School
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some suggestive references
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.