Review for Champions
Marcus is a Basketball coach with aspirations of coaching in the NBA, unable to get any of his plays passed the head coach he assaults the coach and is fired only to later be arrested on a DUI. Instead of prison time he accepts a role doing community service, helping to coach a team of ‘intellectually disabled’ people.
Here he learns how to listen to people, relate to them and through them starts a relationship with one of the team’s sisters, Alex who had a Tinder-fling with previously. Despite his grumpy start he begins to teach the players how to play as a team and then they even start winning.
When I saw that this was a film by Bobby Farrelly about ‘intellectually disabled’ basketball players my heart sunk. I had flashbacks to the There’s Something About Mary character Warren and (although I knew it would probably be funny) I would probably hate myself for laughing afterwards. Instead this was a warm story which really did respect those cast in this film and thankfully all of the members of the Friends basketball team were people with disabilities and so there was no way to complain about people being made fun of or mocked.
Marcus, played by Woody Harrelson is perfect as the grumpy coach and his interactions with everyone on screen feels real and you can feel a genuine relationship building between them all. I found myself laughing and smiling throughout which really made me enjoy this film and it was one of the few films in a while that I watched more than once. It is very rare that a film will do this. It is obvious to say this is one of those ‘losers become winners’ stories and it is, but this is definitely a film for all the family to enjoy.
Extras include a commentary with Director Bobby Farrelly. As with many solo commentaries the issue is that there is so much dead air where he doesn’t talk. This is why I always think that a commentary (unless it is scripted or by a scholar) should always have two or more people so that they have someone to bounce stories and anecdotes around with. What he says is fine in general, just not very entertaining.
Eighteen Deleted Scenes are mostly just extended versions of other scenes and so probably just cut for time.
Casting the Friends is a look at the actors behind the film and is more a blooper reel of the Friends Team Players with them introducing themselves. It also features a blooper in which one makes a shot that would have ruined the whole film and is just amazing.
Woody and the Friends is a quick look at Woody Harrelson and how he was with everyone in the film. It’s not surprising that everyone loved working with him. Keeping it Friendly is a quick look at the making of the film and doesn’t reveal too much, but its clear that everyone enjoyed the process throughout.
Champions is (pun intended) a champion of a film and one that I would recommend to everyone. It is not going to win any awards or be in any Top Tens (unless we are looking at Sports of Family Friendly Films), but is definitely a film that I would chance a Three-Point shot for