The Farrelly brothers have worked in movies for decades. You may remember their comedy classics like Dumb and Dumber, Me, Myself, and Ireneand There’s Something About Mary. After Peter Farrelly went himself to win the Oscar for Green BookBobby Farrelly has his solo directorial debut with Champions. This sports comedy stars Woody Harrelson as a basketball coach who is arrested and sentenced to community service, where he must train a group of people with intellectual disabilities how to play basketball. It’s a predictable, heartwarming sports movie that knows how to appeal to a large audience.
A remake of the 2018 Spanish film champions, this movie introduces Marcus Marokovich, the skilled, passionate assistant coach of a minor league basketball team. After pushing his coach to the floor after a misunderstanding and drunkenly driving a police car, Marcus is the lowest. However, this is the perfect opportunity to turn this zero into a hero. Early on, it’s clear that Marcus doesn’t know who his players are as people, unable to form relationships with them. Once the premise and character flaws are set up, we have our movie.
The film then introduces us to The Friends, a group of people with intellectual disabilities who play basketball. You go through all these characters, and you get to know each one individually with Marcus. Each character is unique and lovable, and from there, you have your sports movie. This is your standard film about a man training a group of misfits into a skilled athletic team. This movie is already available, and you don’t need to watch it Champions to find out what happens to it. Sports movies follow a formula, and this movie sticks to it like glue.
However, the formula remains tried and true for a reason. You know what you’re getting into, which is a funny, inspirational film about a group of people learning to be better. This movie has funny moments and offers the great experience you want from this movie. It’s enough to pass the time and make you smile, even if you have a clear idea of where this movie is going. If you enjoy this movie as much as everyone else, does it matter? The story beats follow the three-act structure you’re familiar with, but Farrelly and writer Mark Rizzo successfully tell the story and evoke the emotions they want in this film.
Woody Harrelson gives a great performance in this movie, as does Kaitlin Olson as Alex. The actors who play The Friends are all fantastic, showcasing their talents in ways they’ve never done before. Champions Throw in some unexpected moments, but it has everything you want to see from a sports movie and you can smile all the way through the credits.
As ComingSoon policy review explains, a score of 7 equals “Good.” A successful piece of entertainment worth watching, but it won’t appeal to everyone.