Movie Review: The Winning Season (2009)

Posted: April 7, 2012 in Drama
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Bill (Sam Rockwell) is a former high school basketball star, who is now a divorced alcoholic busboy. A former high school teammate, named Terry (Rob Corddry) offers Bill a job as a high-school girl’s basketball coach.  Bill accepts, but is surprised to see only six girls on the team and none of them know how to play basketball.    That’s not the only problem Bill has, one of his players, Abby (Emma Roberts) has a pretty-boy boyfriend, Damon (Connor Paolo) who hardly pays attention to her.  Lisa (Shareeka Epps) a black player, does not like Kathy (Emily Rios) a Hispanic player, Wendy (Rooney Mara) is dating a much older man. And finally, his daughter Molly (Shana Dowdesdell) hates him. But the more they play, the more they listen to Bill, the more they win, The team makes it to the sectionals finals, the teammates stand up for one another, and Abby’s boyfriend starts coming to her games.  Does the team win the girls’ championship? Does Bill patch up his relationship with his daughter?

This is too derivative a movie to be enjoyable, It borrows heavily from the Bad News Bears, Bad Santa, and even Hoosiers. (It’s set in Indiana)  All of those movies are better than this one, and Walter Matthau is much better at being a drunken old curmudgeon than Sam Rockwell.  There is not enough storyline here, and so the clichés abound.  Washed up ex basketball player becomes a coach.  Girls on the team become substitute daughters for the coach’s own daughter, coach becomes substitute father for his team. bad team becomes good overnight, girls start out hating each other, and then get along. Sam Rockwell tries hard to get laughs, but the script can’t decide whether it wants to be funny or serious.  The best acting by the girls is not even by Emma Roberts, it is by Emily Rios, who puts her heart and soul into the movie, and seems like the only girl who can actually play basketball.  This is another movie where the trailer is better than the movie.

The Winning Season.  It lost me.

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