A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the film includes frequent images of women in scant outfits. Sex scenes show kissing and bodies dressed in underwear embracing. The film features some rough basketball (bodies slamming into each other, falling). The scam in the movie involves betting on basketball, fixing games, and paying off players. A motorcycle crashes into a car, and the rider flies up into the air and ends up in the hospital (with scrapes on his face and a worried friend in the room).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Once a sports agent, Vaughn (Wayne Brady) now rigs basketball games. He stages the games in an abandoned Detroit train station, and gives his paid-off players gorgeous red and gold uniforms and cheerleaders. As Vaughn's disappointed girlfriend (Kristen Wilson) tells him, running underground games isn't much of a career. One of the players is reaching a similar conclusion. Though he's making money and meeting pretty girls at the games, Tech (Anthony Mackie) is tiring of the routine and has aspirations to play professionally in Europe. Tech's childhood friend Noah (Wesley Jonathan) wants to go to medical school. A gifted ballplayer, Noah gets a basketball scholarship to a university in L.A., and brings Tech along for the orientation. Around the same time, the boys meet girls. Noah falls for super-sexy Vanessa (Eva Pigford), while Tech likes the slightly more demure Eboni (Alecia Fears). They bring the women to sunny California, where they encounter some adversity and reveal lingering tensions.
Is it any good?
Though it's full of powerhouse basketball scenes, Crossover is inept and emotionally unconvincing. The images zip and zap, the cuts are slamming, the colors are extra bright, and the real-life street ball players -- including Philip Champion -- are impressive. But the slick surface can't cover up the tediously contrived storyline, retread plot, and mostly lackluster performances.
Wholly undeveloped and erratic, the characters' relationships -- old and new -- lurch from one dramatic confrontation to another, without much motivation or sense. Indeed, most of the movie's melodramatic content is indicated by the muddy, canned soundtrack, which is to say, none of it is compelling... except the games.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the friendship between Tech and Noah: How does the fact that they feel they "owe" each other for past favors shape their current choices? How might the lack of parental or other authority figures influence their choices? How does the movie represent their girlfriends? Why are so many sports movies so similar?