Release Date: March 23rd, 2007 by Liongsgate Films.
The Cast: Terrence Howard, Bernie Mac, Kimberly Elise, Tom Arnold, Kevin Phillips, Nate Parker, Regine Nehy, Alphonso McAuley, Evan Ross, Gary Anthony Sturgis.
Directed by Sunu Gonera.
BASIC PREMISE: Jim Ellis (Howard) turns a group of troubled teens into a competitive swim team at the Philadelphia Department of Recreation. Based on a true story.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Unlike the superb Freedom Writers, Pride fails to develop any of the troubled teen characters or any of the other important characters for that matter. Jim Ellis, who was once a professional swimmer, sees the troubled youths playing basketball outside the Philadelphia Department of Recreation and, soon enough, has them swimming inside in the pool and becomes their coach. Of course, one player’s mother doesn’t allow her son to join the team because she thinks it would get in the way of his academic studies. She happens to also be a councilwoman who has control over whether or not to close down the Recreation facility. Will Jim convince her otherwise? Will the team defeat their rival swim team, coached by Brink (Arnold)? The contrived, corny screenplay by screenwriters Kevin Michael Smith, Michael Gozzard, J. Mills Goodloe, and Norman Vance Jr., unfortunately, doesn’t allow you to truly care about the answer to these integral questions. The only surprise in this by-the-numbers film is that Bernie Mac, who plays a somewhat serious role as Elston, a janitor at the Recreation facility. Terrance Howard, who showed off his acting chops in Crash and Hustle & Flow simply doesn’t have enough material to work with here. At least director Sunu Gonera keeps you mildly entertained by a impressive camera work, especially during the swimming scenes, and a very lively and appropriate soundtrack.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Often contrived, corny and somewhat dull.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 5
IN A NUTSHELL: Mildly entertaining, but often contrived, corny and somewhat dull.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: DVD
The "P" Menu