While many will enjoy this movie from a perspective of a basketball fan, moviegoers will probably not share their sentiment. As a person who grew up on 90s basketball, the idea of putting together a cast of some of the greatest to ever play the game led by current NBA superstar Kyrie Irving sounds like a good idea on paper. As a fan of the game, you will be hard pressed not to enjoy a film with such basketball legends including Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, and Lisa Leslie. However, short of the novelty of a bunch of retired basketball players in makeup to look like senior citizens, there isn’t much else here and the writer knows it.
Uncle Drew is a comedy based on the popular Pepsi Max commercial starring NBA Superstar Kyrie Irving. A young streetball team manager named Dax (Lil Rel Howery) is struggling to keep together his team in time for the big 50th-anniversary basketball tournament at the legendary Rucker Park. When his team, his girlfriend, and his funds abandon him, Dax’s only option is to rely on the legendary basketballer Uncle Drew, who despite his age still has the moves to compete with the best. So Dax and Drew travel the Metropolitan area to put together the greatest that Streetball has ever seen…in 1968.
What you have here is a film that sounds good in a pitch meeting, but doesn’t exactly work as a feature film that goes for nearly two hours. The story is very weak and doesn’t get going until the 2nd act when the team begins to come together. Director Charles A. Stone III’s and screenwriter Jay Longino are the wrong choices for a film like this. The comedy is largely carried by the wit of the cast as shown by the end credits outtakes and the direction is Laissez-faire which is not the style needed when your lead is not a trained actor. Nick Kroll and Tiffany Haddish are cookie cutter characters who don’ offer any value to the film and don’t have much to work with outside of a funny dig at Trump University.
What Uncle Drew does right in charm, it does wrong with a disjointed script which keeps this film from being more than what it is, a fun film that is a better idea than execution.