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Review: ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ Review

Hulu’s modern retelling of “White Men Can’t Jump” brings a fresh spin on the iconic 1992 film, celebrating the streetball hustling culture of Los Angeles.

Cast includes Sinqua Walls, rapper/songwriter Jack Harlow (making his screen debut), Lance Reddick, Teyana Taylor, Laura Harrier, Vince Staples, and Myles Bullock.

The movie is directed by Charles “Calmatic” Kidd II. The story is by Kenya Barris & Doug Hall, and the screenplay is by Doug Hall and Kenya Barris. “White Men Can’t Jump” is produced by Kenya Barris, with Charles “Calmatic” Kidd II, Blake Griffin & Ryan Kalil, James Powers, Paul Hall, Doug Hall, and Brian Dobbins serving as executive producers.

The new film shines in creating its unique narrative, featuring very different characters and emotional beats. The compelling lead duo of Sinqua Walls and Jack Harlow, stepping into the colossal shoes of Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, captivate with their compelling chemistry and individual charm, although their storyline varies significantly from the original.

This film, while decidedly not an exact replica of the original, does offer plenty of nods to its predecessor, in addition to its own originality. The storyline centers around former basketball stars Jeremy and Kamal, whose careers and dreams were derailed by injuries and personal struggles. The personal journeys and struggles of these characters are relatable and engaging, making it easy for viewers to get invested.

One of the standout elements of this film is the humor. It manages to balance the comedic aspects well, with most jokes hitting their mark. Jack Harlow’s charm, coupled with his banter with Sinqua Walls, is sure to elicit laughter from the audience. The supporting cast, featuring Laura Harrier, Teyana Taylor, Myles Bullock, and Vince Staples, adds depth and a few emotional scenes that enhance the film’s impact.

The basketball scenes are more realistic than many past cinematic attempts, adding an extra layer of credibility. The filmmakers have managed to blend friendship, humor, sports, and personal struggle to create an engaging narrative. Director Calmatic, along with scriptwriters Kenya Barris and Doug Hall, have ensured that the remake respects the original while also bringing a contemporary twist. Their work subtly touches on race relations and gender roles, adding a timely relevance to the film.

While the film doesn’t live up to the exact legacy of its 1992 classic, it successfully redefines itself as an enjoyable film in its own right. It might not invoke the exact emotional connection as the original for some, but it’s a solid film that offers a perfect blend of humor, sports, and life’s struggles, wrapped in believable performances and semi-realistic basketball action. It’s certainly worth a watch, even if it may not provoke the desire for multiple viewings for all viewers.

The all-new comedy begins streaming on 19 May, exclusively on Hulu, and on Disney+ under the Star banner in the UK, Canada, Australia and many other countries. 

Tom Hedley
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