The Sixth Man

Bomb Rating: 

At this point in the evolution of the tired, stupid genre of sports films, the only story I'm willing to tolerate is one in which a group of soccer donkeys decapitates the writer of "The Sixth Man" and uses his head as a game ball. For God's sake, how many of these films do we have to put up with? Did someone think "Angels in the Outfield" failed only because it wasn't set on a basketball court?

Since shameless copycatting doesn't satisfy him, director Randall ("Houseguest") Miller is also hell-bent on moralizing like some back-alley preacher. Once Antoine Tyler (Kadeem Hardison) dies and starts helping brother Kenny (Marlon Wayans) and the Washington Huskies win basketball games, Miller actually has the gall to bring up the issue of cheating just before the national championship game. Members of the team gather around and claim they don't want to win the game by unfair means -- despite the fact that the only reason they're in a position to do so is because they've spent most of the season exploiting the powers of the undead. Nice try, but if there's anything worse than a cheater, it's a hypocrite cheater.

There's something truly contemptible about making a bad film and then trying to shield yourself from ridicule and derision by infusing it with enough moralizing to choke the Pope. Everybody has their life lesson to learn. Kenny learns to be his own person. His love interest, journalist R.C. St. John (Michael Michele) learns not to sell her soul for a story. The players learn to believe in themselves. Antoine learns that he was a crappy human being. Mr. Cranky learned that his two hours would have been better spent eating Styrofoam.

The whole context of the story makes you wonder about the sanity of the filmmakers. Antoine has a heart attack on the court. With the deaths of Len Bias and Hank Gathers, one would expect a writer to think twice about exploiting their deaths for some light-hearted comedy. Then again, perhaps the Oklahoma City bombing is just screaming for a musical.

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