Uncle Drew is a comedy film about Basketball. The main plot focuses on a former player turned coach Dax, (Lil Rey Howery) as he is forced to put together a new team in hopes of winning the Rucker. Said new team consists of Uncle Drew, (Kyrie Irving), Big Fella, (Shaquille O’ Neal), Preacher, (Chris Webber) along with a lot of other famous faces; disguised by old makeup. For the most part, the cast all give good, if rather cliched, performances. The cast is not given much to work with in terms of the script with it being every sports trope in the book cobbled together, but they still manage to inject some much-needed heart into it. The film does have a lot of famous NBA player cameos, so if you are into your Basketball these should keep you suitably entertained. These cameos don’t feel tacked on, as they easily could have done, rather it seems they are used to give the Basketball community a celebration of the game they love so much. If you can view this film, for more than just what it’s limited story presents, and instead as a love letter to Basketball then you will enjoy it far more. The main antagonist of the film is, Dax’s long-time rival Mookie, (Nick Kroll), who is an easily hateable villain. Howery and Irving are the standout performances of the film. Howery brings a certain hopeless likeability to the role, as he perfectly en-captures the underdog spirit. Whilst Irving plays Drew as not only, slick, suave and ultimately cool but, also with a world-weariness formed by a lifetime of bad decisions, which makes his character quite a nice opposite for Dax. All those positives being said the script is overall very shallow and that isn’t something the film can get away from, the characters, as likeable as some of them are, ultimately amount to little more than caricatures of genre archetypes. Furthermore, the comedy didn’t work, there were moments where I felt myself smiling and maybe one or two laughs, but overall the comedy of the film passed me by and left me cold. In addition, there are scenes in the film that feel strangely dated, such as a dance-off in the films second act, that feels like it belongs to a different decade of cinema. Whether this is a deliberate choice to play off the fact that they are, “old school”, or not, it still feels out of place. The film’s soundtrack is impressive, managing to bridge generations, with something for everyone to like. However, ultimately all these positives are just shiny coats of paint on an otherwise played out, dated and generic sports comedy. Maybe wait until this one comes out on Netflix.
Reviewed by Luke