The Longshots

 
Girl-powered sports film is predictable but sweet.
  • Review Date: August 19, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Jasmine proves that girls can actually play football, instead of just being cheerleaders and spectators. Curtis stops drinking and steps up to coach Jasmine and the team. Jasmine is ridiculed by her school's "mean girls" -- but it's obvious that their behavior isn't admirable.

Violence & scariness

There's some hard shoving and tackling on the football field. A coach has a heart attack and collapses on the field. (Possible spoiler alert! He doesn't die.)

Sexy stuff

A man asks a woman on a date, and they're shown flirting with each other and hugging. A boy refers to his testicles as "King Kongs," and someone corrects him, calling them "ping pongs."

Language

Mostly mild: "damn," "dookie," "stupid," "ass."

Consumerism

Tyra Banks is mentioned several times, and her talk show plays on the main character's television. Other celebrities and brands featured include Beyonce, Foxxy Brown, Muhammad Ali, Yao Ming, Sprite, and Walter Payton (Ice wears his #34 jersey through most of the movie).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Curtis buys large cans of beer, which he hides in a paper bag, and he drinks a lot -- until he starts coaching the team . A couple of homeless-looking men also carry around paperbags that are presumably filled with cans or bottles of alchohol.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film, although mostly fine for younger kids, does have a few mature themes. The main character's unemployed uncle drinks a lot (out of a paper bag) and is basically a couple of notches up from being homeless. A deadbeat dad makes a brief appearance in which he once again disappoints his daughter. And a well-liked character suffers a heart attack on the football field. The language in the film is standard for a PG film ("ass" is about as strong as it gets), and there's no sexual or violent content of note.

What's the story?

Middle-schooler Jasmine Plummer (Keke Palmer) is far from popular in her small, working-class town. She's frequently ridiculed by the school's mean girls, and she doesn't have any extracurricular interests besides reading. When she needs an afternoon sitter while her mom puts in extra hours at the local diner, Jasmine's unemployed Uncle Curtis (Ice Cube) is the only man for the job. Bored, the duo starts hanging out by a football field, where Curtis discovers that his niece has a great throw. After weeks of teaching a reluctant Jasmine football basics, Curtis convinces the Pop Warner coach (Matt Craven) to let her try out for quarterback. She's a natural, of course. The rest of the movie (which was based on a true story) focuses on how Jasmine unexpectedly leads the team to victory.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Nearly every inspiring "first" in sports has already been turned into a movie. But even though there's no originality left in the genre, Palmer and Ice Cube are charming enough to lift LONGSHOTS slightly above the after-school special benchmark. Palmer, who nailed her breakthrough performance in Akeelah and the Bee, is older but still enchanting as the first female quarterback in Pop Warner history. She's a lovely young actress and deserves meatier roles than this fluffy football tale offers. Cube isn't as believable as a down-and-out borderline alcoholic, but once the football lessons start, he's much more at ease.

Despite the film's shortcomings, Limp Bizkit frontman-turned-director Fred Durst has studied the feel-good formula enough to make audiences root for the home team, even if the result isn't a true touchdown.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes Jasmine a good role model. What other positive (or negative) role models did you notice in the movie? Kids: What do you think about girls playing football? Should they be allowed to play on boys' teams if there aren't enough girls to form a separate league? Families can also discuss whether sports movies are too predictable and tear-jerking -- or whether that's just what you want in this kind of film.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 20, 2008
DVD release date:December 1, 2008
Cast:Dash Mihok, Ice Cube, Keke Palmer
Director:Fred Durst
Studio:Weinstein Co.
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some thematic elements, mild language and brief rude humor.

This review of The Longshots was written by

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Quality

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old December 20, 2009
age 10+
 
I love this movie because it shows that you can be anything you want to be if you work for it. I like seeing a girl being a quarterback.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 10 year old Written bymumu May 4, 2009
age 8+
 
My 9 year old girl loved it and so did we.
Kid, 8 years old January 9, 2009
age 6+
 

really good

I loved this movie. It does have a few swears ut other than that its probably ok.

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