White Men Can’t Jump Review
Once again, Disney is taking a dive into the back library of 20th Century Studios for a modern remake of a popular film and the next to be given a straight-to-streaming update is “White Men Can’t Jump”. The original film was released back in the early 1990s and starred Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, which told the story of a hustler, who makes a living out of conning African American players into believing that he cannot play basketball. He teams up with Sidney, one of his victims, to double his chances.
And in the new version, it’s pretty much a similar story, but with a character called Jeremy, who is a former star of the game whose injuries stalled his career, who meets Kamal, once a promising player, who derailed his own future in the sport. Juggling tenuous relationships, financial pressures and serious internal struggles, the two ballers—opposites who are seemingly miles apart—find they might have more in common than they imagined possible. This is like most sports-related films; even if you’re not a fan of the sport, you can still get taken along for the ride, as they desire to be the best, but life doesn’t always work out like that.
However, unlike most sports films, I don’t think it pulls on your emotional heartstrings in the way you’d see in a Disney-branded sports film like “Rise” or “Safety”, but it adds a little more realism and, more importantly, humour into it. However, I do think Disney needs to give basketball-related films and shows a break, since we’ve had “Big Shot”, “The Crossover”, and “Chang Can Dunk” in the past year. So adding in a fourth Basketball themed original within seven months does seem a little unnecessary.
The film stars multi-platinum rap superstar Jack Harlow, who makes his big-screen debut in this film, but that makes little difference to his acting ability, because he comes across in this film as a fun and loveable rogue tip guy, that really helped with my enjoyment of the film. I didn’t know he was a well-known rapper when I saw the movie, and I thought he did a great job and was one of the film’s highlights. The banter that he has with Sinqua Walls is what makes this movie fun to watch.
There are some additional storylines throughout the film, to expand out the character’s real lives away from the court, with money problems causing them issues with their love lives and families. There’s an interesting plot involving Kamal’s father, who is played by the late great Lance Riddick, which hit a little harder due to his recent death.
Overall, “White Men Can’t Jump” is a solid sports film, but it didn’t blow me away. It’s an easy watch, but just updating the basic story of the original film, with a modern twist does seem a little unnecessary, but it does give a new generation a version of this story, but fans of the original might just want to watch the classic again, rather than bothering with this version.
I thought the film was enjoyable, but it’s not a film I’d ever go back and revisit, since there just wasn’t anything for me that made it stand out, since it’s just rather average. That’s not to say it’s a bad film; it’s just average, which is fine for a straight-to-streaming movie. It’s got some great on-screen chemistry between Jack and Sinqua, which makes the film more enjoyable, but to use a basketball term, it would be a missed three-pointer at the last minute!
Rating – 3.5 Out Of 5
“White Men Can’t Jump” is out now on Hulu in the United States, Star+ in Latin America and on Disney+ around the world.