What’s it about?
An arrogant minor league basketball coach (Woody Harrelson) is arrested for drunk driving and has to coach a team of players with intellectual disabilities as part of his community service. Remember The Mighty Ducks? It’s basically The Mighty Ducks.
What’d we think?
Peter Linning says: The two things I think of when it comes to the Farrelly Brothers (of There’s Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber fame) are gross-out comedies I don’t particularly care for, and representing people with disabilities in a realistic, occasionally unglamorous, but ultimately humanising way. Bobby Farrelly treads some fairly well-worn ground in his first solo outing as a director, but pulls off the difficult task of making a heartwarming film about disabled people that doesn’t feel schmaltzy for a second. There’s a whole conversation to be had on that topic, but the movie wouldn’t work as well as it does without that angle working in its favour.
Woody does a great job with both the comedic scenes and the more serious and heartfelt moments, but Kaitlin Olson is the standout performance as the sister of one of the players and Woody’s kind-of love interest, although I don’t quite understand the choice to have her character replaced with a giant bird in a number of scenes.
Geena Schwartz says: Funny, loveable, a delight. But that’s enough about me
Champions is easy to digest – a slice of wholesomeness all warm and Woody on the inside. However, the recipe is one we’ve seen before. It made me want to watch basketball again, so it did achieve something. Unfortunately, not even Woody Harrelson could make this film more appealing to me. The characters are sweet but they’re classic cookie cut-outs. The message of kindness, bravery and being a Champion within yourself is endearing, but how much sweetness can we take before there’s a toothache? Whether you watch the film or not, your life will remain unchanged.