Little Loopers

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Little Loopers Movie Poster Image
Trite underdog kid golfer tale has crass language, alcohol.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 94 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Promotes good works, empathy, concern for others as a means of redemption. Encourages parents to respect a child's choices. Values friendship, sobriety, philanthropy, and believing in oneself. Participation in sports is seen as a productive, energizing activity that helps self-esteem and inspires teamwork.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Self-absorbed, self-pitying man learns important lessons about team play, caring for others, and an open heart. Caricature of aggressive youth coach is exaggerated and silly. Ethnic diversity.

Violence

A young boy kicks a grown man. A brief fistfight ends with a man smashing a car window with a golf club.

Sex

A kiss.

Language

Some coarse language and insults: "turd," "bull ducky," "shut up," "schmucks," "crap," "damn," "ass," "dummy." A man is shown talking on the phone in a toilet stall with his pants down, farting and pooping.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Hero struggles with alcohol dependence: pours whiskey into his coffee, drinks in a bar, turns to hard liquor when frustrated. A very drunk country club patron is used as comedy. Cigar smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Little Loopers is another film in the increasingly common "down-and-out coach adopts the team from nowhere" sports genre. In this story, the sport is golf; the kids are a ragtag bunch of underachievers (with one exception, the prospective "star"); and the likable coach is a hard-drinking failure who supports himself by hustling golf games. A bit of violence sets the game in motion when the hero gets into a fistfight, breaks a car window with his golf club, and is sentenced to community service. Expect some crass language and swearing ("bull ducky," "schmucks," "damn," "ass," "crap"), and a lengthy scene shows a man sitting on the toilet, talking on the phone while he farts and grunts. The film contains moments of drinking, drunkenness, and gambling.

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What's the story?

Poor "Hutch" McGee (Boyd Kestner). By the time we meet him in LITTLE LOOPERS, he has lost his place on the golf tour, is drinking too much, lives in a trailer, and gets the bulk of his income from hustling saps at money games on the golf course. He and his partner, Big Earl (Rob Morrow), own a dreary course in the California desert that they won on a bet. But things are about to change for Hutch. After a fight with an obnoxious bully, Hutch smashes the guy's car with a golf club, is "retained" by law enforcement, and ultimately is sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service, which comes in the form of coaching five kids who want to play golf. They're four boys and a girl -- a wisecracker, a nice kid, an academically precocious one, a smart mouth, and a golf superstar -- each a member of a class that Hutch hates: kids. The only positive thing in the deal is the community worker who sets it up; Kristen (Natalie Imbruglia) has possibilities. What motivates Hutch, besides the kids themselves, is Todd (Jay R. Ferguson, in repulsive mode), an opposition coach who embodies everything that competition shouldn't be. Matters come to a head when Hutch makes a last-ditch effort to get back on the professional tour but would have to disappoint the kids to make it work.

Is it any good?

No surprises, no nuance, no inspiration in this disappointing underdog sports story; kids and golf deserve better. Despite an engaging, solid performance by lead actor Boyd Kestner as William "Hutch" McGee, the movie simply doesn't work. Situations are hackneyed, characters are one-dimensional, and the direction is by the numbers, with Jim Valdez making many questionable artistic choices and allowing some of his performers to overact mercilessly. On the plus side, Valdez has enlisted some fine character actors for the film: Rob Morrow and Mark Moses are fine in smaller roles. Given the number of available meaningful, entertaining, and rousing sports stories centered on kids, teens, and coaches, this one is a time-waster.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of sports stories in which a new coach helps a struggling team reach great success. What is it about these tales that audiences find so appealing? What are some of the filmmaking components that separate a good sports movie from a mediocre or bad one?

  • In film terms, what does "predictable" mean? How is this movie predictable? How is it original?

  • Why did Art's dad change his attitude about his son's love of golf? Do you think there was enough motivation to inspire that change? Did the situation seem real to you? Why, or why not?

Movie details

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