Movie Mom

If you know the premise of this movie, you know the plot and you undoubtedly know the jokes. Here’s the premise: Tootsie on a basketball team. A conceited pro basketball player gets fired, and the only job he can get is on a woman’s team. So, he dresses up like a woman. He’s in for some lessons about life, and we’re in for some locker room humor.

The film was a bit of a surprise, though with a nice spirit and a willingness to avoid the obvious. It’s nowhere near “Some Like it Hot” or “Tootsie,” or even “Mrs. Doubtfire,” but it is better than recent cross-dressing films like “Big Momma’s House” and the abominable “Sorority Boys.”

Jamal Jeffries (Miguel A. Nunez Jr., in his first starring role) is a star basketball player whose bad attitude and poor sportsmanship are constantly getting him in trouble. He is indefinitely suspended after one particular mishap (which, in the real world, could have landed him in jail) and he loses his fake friends as fast as the money he spent so irresponsibly. With his main priority making back some money and playing the game he loves, he takes up his only option, dressing like woman and playing women’s basketball.

Through the women he reluctantly learns to be a supportive team player and falls for the team’s star, Michelle (“Independence Day’s” lovely Vivica A. Fox). Obviously the usual chaos ensues, and Jamal has to learn several lessons to stay on the team as well as maintain his cover. Besides the talented stars, a supporting cast consisting of reliable character actors like Kevin Pollak, Tommy Davidson, and Wayans’ sister Kim, as well as good turns from hip-hop stars Genuwine and Lil’ Kim. The “dude looks like a lady” plot has been done many times before and there’s nothing new here, from the awkward moments with the love interest to the big moment where all is revealed to the men who were hitting on the main character. So the plot is predictable and a lot of the jokes are lazy. Although there were no surprises and some gratuitous stereotypes, I found myself caring about the characters.

Parents should know that this movie has a lot of raunchy humor, mostly revolving around Jamal’s anatomical differences from his teammates, but pretty typical for the increasingly graphic PG-13 rating. Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy Tootsie and Some Like it Hot selected by the American Film Institute as the funniest movie ever. They may also want to try a more serious story about romantic relationship between hoops players, Love and Basketball.

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