Release Date: June 1st, 2007 by Picturehouse.
The Cast: Carly Schroeder, Dermot Mulroney, Andrew Shue, Elisabeth Shue, Emma Bell, James Biberi, Trevor Heins, Julia Garro, Jesse Lee Soffer.
Directed by Davis Guggenheim.
BASIC PREMISE: When her older brother, Johnny (Soffer), dies in a car accident, 15-year-old Gracie (Schroeder) decides to take his place on the boy’s high school varsity team despite that everyone discourages her.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Set in South Orange, N.J. during 1978, Gracie adheres to the typical formula of an “underdog” sports movie with plenty of clichés, but what sinks it mediocrity is the often contrived and corny plot. In the opening scenes, Gracie bonds with her older brother, Johnny, so dies in a car accident not shown on screen. She loves soccer even though she doesn’t excel in it. Her father (Mulroney) and younger brothers love playing soccer as well. Conflict quickly arises when Gracie decides to try out for the boy’s varsity high soccer team and no one believes she can beat the odds by helping the team to win. Her mother (Elisabeth Shue) doesn’t like soccer and wishes Gracie would set her mind on other things such as her studies. Even her best friend, Jena (Garro) discourages her. Of course, her father decides to train her and to convince the coach to let give her a chance. His sudden transformation doesn’t seem believable, though. Writer/director Davis Guggenheim, who also directed the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, manages to make the plot easy-to-follow, but with too many contrived scenes. Moreover, the script lacks adequate character development and organic, believable scenes needed in order to allow you to root for and truly care about Gracie. It’s not enough to root for her just because she’s an underdog. A few scenes and lines of dialogue feel so corny, they’ll make your eyes roll. Carly Schroeder gives a decent performance as Gracie and adds some charm and appeal, but she simply doesn’t have enough material to make this film feel more than mediocre and ultimately forgettable.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None, other than the brief, yet important message of believing in yourself.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Often contrived, corny and poor character development.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 7
IN A NUTSHELL: Despite Carly Schroeder’s charming performance, the formulaic plot feels too corny contrived and stale with poor character development.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
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