Monday, September 1, 2014

Netflix Mail Day Movie Review: "White Men Can't Jump" (1992)

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Movie"White Men Can't Jump"
Director: Ron Shelton
Year: 1992
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes) is a cocky street baller who plays basketball for money. Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) is a dorky looking white boy who makes money hustling cocky street ballers.  After Billy hustles some money out of Sidney, they decide to put their differences aside to create a team hustle that can double both their profits. Their hustle works, but Billy is bad with money and is often quick to risk it all in a bet as a matter of pride. This causes problems with his Jeopardy! obsessed girlfriend Gloria Clemente (Rosie Perez). Sidney also isn't the most trustworthy of partners; he wants to move his family to a better neighborhood and will do whatever it takes to get the money to do just that. On top of this, Billy and Gloria are in debt to a couple of loan sharks. They need to pay them off or else risk losing their lives. This leaves Billy stuck in a cycle of hustle or be hustled, a lifestyle Gloria is desperate to escape. 

When this movie came out, it was a rather popular one. It has garnered plenty of parody moments in other films ever since. But over the years, its popularity has certainly seemed to fade. Upon re-watching this movie, some of it does seem a little outdated, like the Yo Mama jokes. That being said, it does still have its moments. Though some of the comedy might be old-school, the dramatic elements are enough to keep viewers interested and are pretty compelling. This was Woody Harrelson's breakout role apart from his stint on "Cheers." He has a way of being subtly humorous that works well in most of his roles. Wesley Snipes was already an established star, and yet they have pretty great chemistry throughout the film. When the hustler becomes the hustled, they have all the makings of a funny dynamic duo. The idea of the hustle also makes some of the scenes where they are playing basketball hilarious, though in the end, the ball game does become more of a backdrop to the hustling element of the film itself. Of course, being a Jeopardy! fanatic myself, I can relate to Rosie Perez's fangirling of the show, though BigJ finds her voice obnoxiously annoying. Director Ron Shelton has made his fair share of sports themed films, and this is no exception, though outside of this and "Bull Durham," none of the others have been huge hits in the movie world. All in all, "White Men Can't Jump" has got its moments and is overall a decent film that we'd watch if someone else wanted to.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 76%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Getaway"

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