White Men Can't Jump
By Heather Boerner,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Hustlin' hoops tale with too much skin for kids.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Billy and Sidney make their living lying and cheating people. Billy gambles away his month. Sidney steals Gloria's money. Diverse lead cast.
Violence & Scariness
Several people pull guns on one another and threaten to kill them, including Gloria, Billy, and Raymond. Raymond tries to hold up a market at gunpoint. Later, he pulls out a switchblade and threatens to kill Sidney and Billy. Raymond threatens to "get my other gun and shoot everyone's ass." Men brawl on the court. Gangsters strip Billy to his underwear, hold a gun to his head and put a gun in his underwear. A gangster pulls out pictures of murdered people.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Gloria and Billy have sex twice and Gloria appears topless or nearly topless a few times. Billy and Gloria make out on the bed. Billy makes a joke about oral sex. Sidney and Rhonda also have sex, but all you see is naked back.
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Considerable salty language, including "s--t," "goddamn," "f--k," "ass," "bitch," "motherf--ker," and "dick." One use of the "N" word.
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Products & Purchases
Characters mention Excedrin, Sizzler, and there's a long segment involving the TV show Jeopardy!
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Gloria drinks vodka all day long.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that despite an appealing, diverse cast and a provocative title, there's not much redeeming social value in this movie. Characters lie, cheat, and steal. They gamble and they drink. There are several sex scenes in which Gloria is topless or nearly topless with references to oral sex. There are also quite a few scenes of threatened violence, though no one gets killed.
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Where to Watch
Based on 4 parent reviews
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Great movie but has constant swearing
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What's the Story?
In WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP, Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) is a goofy-looking white guy with a secret: He can play basketball better than almost any player out there on the courts of L.A. When he moves into Sidney Dean's (Wesley Snipes) territory, however, the two become rivals and then business partners, creating an elaborate ruse to con unsuspecting basketball players out of hundreds of dollars. But when Sidney steals Billy's money and then Billy loses his money in a stupid bet, he faces losing the love of his life, Gloria (the divine Rosie Perez). To make it up to her, he concocts a plan to help her win Jeopardy! and to get right with some mobsters who are tracking him.
Is It Any Good?
It may entertain, but it's just not funny enough. There was a cultural moment when Do the Right Thing and Thelma and Louise opened up the discussion of race and gender in this country. Around the same time, White Men Can't Jump came out and exploited both those interests in what is essentially two hours of race- and gender-baiting jokes and put-downs.
The basketball scenes here are all showboating and predictable. By the time Billy and Sidney meet their third mark, the results are obvious and boring. There's little tension here about what's going to happen, so you'd like the dialogue to at least be entertaining. And it is -- if you grew up in a locker room. There are moments of great "your momma" jokes, but mostly the jokes, like the basketball scenes, grow tired and repetitive quickly. Only true basketball fans, or fans of the actors, will love this one.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how some men socialize with one another through insults. Do you ever feel hurt or bullied when people tease you? What's the difference between joking around and hurting someone? How do you know when you've gone too far?
- In theaters: June 6, 1992
- On DVD or streaming: May 21, 1992
- Cast: Rosie Perez, Tyra Ferrell, Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson
- Director: Ron Shelton
- Inclusion Information: Black actors, Latinx actors
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language and sensuality
- Last updated: April 2, 2023
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