From Pepsi commercial to viral YouTube hit, and finally to the big screen Uncle Drew once again laces up the sneakers and attempts to show some young bloods how the game is supposed to be played. Put together by Pepsi Productions and Temple Hill Entertainment, relatively unknown director Charles Stone III put Uncle Drew’s legendary (and elderly) team back together for one last tournament at The Rucker in NYC.
I loved the Uncle Drew YouTube videos so I was really hoping that the movie would be able to catch the same kind of lightning in a bottle. The problem is, the YouTube videos are so great because the pickup games the Drew jumps into are filled with regular guys who have no idea that Uncle Drew is actually Kyrie Irving. The completely genuine reactions of astonishment are really what made them so funny. The movie is a completely different story, however. It tries to manufacture a lot of drama when really all I care about is watching Kyrie Irving dressed up like an old grandpa playing some flashy basketball and making unknowing park players look foolish.
So I’m not sure where Tiffany Haddish got her start as the sassy lady supporting character but it seems like that I the only role she gets cast for nowadays and she is in A LOT of movies/shows. Starting in 2016 she has been cast in 16 different shows/movies including her slate for 2019. It is the same character every time and it is honestly getting pretty annoying. Similar to Michael Peña in Ant-Man and the Wasp, Tiffany Haddish is only in Uncle Drew to try to generate some laughs. Unlike Peña however, she just wasn’t that funny. The same can be said for Lil Rel Howery in his role as Dax. To me, it seemed like his part was written with the thought that Kevin Hart would be playing Dax, but instead, they could only get Great Value Brand Kevin Hart and his comedic lines really suffered. This movie isn’t all that funny and it tries a little too hard to generate drama and character tension that it just comes across as cheesy.
To the right demographic, this movie can be a fun watch. I’m a big fan of basketball so I actually rather enjoyed watching Reggie Miller, Shaq, Nate Robinson, Lisa Leslie, Chris Webber, and of course Kyrie dress up like old farts and play some basketball. Some of the details surrounding their characters are pretty clever. I thought all six of them did a good job and were really fun to watch. It certainly looked like they all had a lot of fun filming the movie. Another highlight of the movie is Aaron Gordon. He is actually a decent actor and he got to show off some of his signature highlight real dunking ability should have won him the 2016 Slam Dunk contest (still salty about that). I also thought Nick Kroll did a decent job as douchey antagonist Mookie.
In the end, I can’t help but feel like Charles Stone III threw up a brick with Uncle Drew as he really struggled to recreate the feel of the hit YouTube videos. If you are a big basketball fan like me, there is a good chance you will have a lot of fun watching these ex-NBAers and Kyrie mess around on the court. As a movie though, this one clanked off the rim and out.