A middle-school student in Minden, Illinois, a bleak little burg whose fortunes have declined precipitously since the local factory closed down, Jasmine (winningly played by Keke Palmer) is a bookworm with a loving mom (Tasha Smith), a deadbeat liar of a dad, and no friends. When her mother recruits her uncle Curtis (Ice Cube) to look after her for a few hours after school, neither he nor Jasmine is thrilled by the idea.
Curtis has no job and no prospects (when he stumbles into Jasmine's classroom during "career day," he amusingly describes himself as "an entrepreneur"); what's more, he quite literally smells. But he's also a former high school football star, and when he sees that his niece has natural talent and desire--she is, in fact, "a phenom"--he teaches her the ropes, then encourages her to try out for the Browns, Minden's Pop Warner team. One needn't be an oracle to see where all this is headed; with its themes of self-esteem and redemption, the triumph of the downtrodden, and the virtues of family ties, sportsmanship, and smalltown life, it's pretty formulaic stuff. What's more, the film loses its focus toward the end when it favors Curtis' story over Jasmine's. Still, these are characters we can care about, making The Longshots a winner. -- Sam Graham
|Recommended Age||7 and up|
|Actors||Ice Cube, Keke Palmer, Tasha Smith, Jill Marie Jones, Dash Mihok|
|Running Time||94 minutes|
|Release Date||Dec 2, 2008|