Direction: Calmatic | Script: Kenya Harris, Doug Hall, Ron Shelton| discard: Sinqua Walls (Kamal), Jack Harlow (Jeremy), Teyana Taylor (Imani), Laura Harrier (Tatiana) and others | Playtime: 101 minutes | Year: 2023
In 1992, we saw Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes in the movie about basketball The white man can’t jump, a sports comedy that took a closer look at street basketball and racial tensions. The original managed to use comedy to tackle sensitive topics, but the remake starring Jack Harlow and Sinqua Walls is too cautious for that. Where the 1992 film was full of trash-talk and couture, the new version approaches the subject with velvet gloves.
This does not mean that there is no social commentary in the film. It’s the story of two men who seem to come from different worlds, but actually have more in common than they think. They end up realizing that they aren’t that different and are better off as friends. It’s not in-depth material, but the tone of the movie isn’t that way either.
white men can’t jump (2023) draws heavily from the backstories of the main characters: black Kamal was a famous high school basketball player and white Jeremy is a working-class player beset by old wounds. Throughout the film, we are constantly reminded of who the young basketball buddies were and what they went through to get where they are. Flashbacks show Kamal’s father putting too much pressure on him, resulting in an almost silly confrontation that costs him his professional basketball career. However, Jeremy has to make do with a few close-ups of his surgical scars.
The feel-good vibe of the movie robs the characters of some insecurity, or at least the drama of every basketball game, because they don’t actually lose. Burdening the characters instead with heavily loaded but underdeveloped stories steeped in resentment, tragedy, and unfulfilled dreams creates a catharsis at the end of the film unsupported by the previous hundred minutes of aimless three-pointers.
The discussion of whether remakes are desirable is of course actually irrelevant. The film was made whether we liked it or not, but in the case of white men can’t jump This begs the question: Why now? We live in a time of high racial tensions in the United States. A good reason to revive a cult classic that makes this subject a lighthearted discussion, but if you then let this story boil down to an uninspiring redemption story, it’s still unclear why we should watch this movie instead of the movie. ‘original.
white men can’t jump can be seen at Disney+.
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