In 2012, Boston Celtics basketball player Kyrie Irving starred in PepsiCo’s series of viral YouTube videos to promote “Pepsi Max” as “Uncle Drew,” a former basketball player now a senior citizen, who’s the subject of a mockumentary competing with youngsters in a basketball court. Despite being an old man, he still retains his skills. After PepsiCo’s marketing tactic was a huge success, the company decided to produce a full length feature film based on Uncle Drew with Kyrie reprising his role along with former NBA basketball players as his longtime friends/teammates.
Uncle Drew came out in June 29, 2018 around the same time as Sicario: Day Of The Soldado. Uncle Drew earned mixed reviews from critics and managed to recoup money at the box office.
The following review contains big SPOILERS. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, read at your own risk. Is Uncle Drew possibly a spiritual successor to Space Jam? Let’s find out shall we?
Positive & Negative Elements
Positive: Kyrie Irving, Lil Rel Howery, Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, Lisa Leslie, Erica Ash, Tiffany Haddish & Nick Kroll all did a decent job for their performances.
J.B. Smoove (Leon from Curb Your Enthusiasm) & Mike Epps make brief appearances as a pair of elderly barbershop workers.
Prosthetic Makeup was applied to Kyrie and the rest of the former NBA players.
Kyrie & the the rest of the former NBA players did their own basketball stunts.
Funny Moments kinda made me laugh including Drew & Dax bickering about their taste in music, Shaq as a karate instructor, Drew’s teammates, a dance-off & Nick Kroll as Dax’s rival, Mookie.
Shaq’s job as a karate instructor, is perhaps an inside joke to the video game “Shaq Fu” and its sequel “Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn.”
Dax mentioned Jordan Peele’s Oscar nominated film Get Out. Lil Rel was also in it.
The sole reason why Drew disbanded his team is quite understandable due to the fact that Big Fella’s wife died. Thus, Drew and his friends called it quits.
Character Development involving Drew & his team as they must learn to work together after going their separate ways.
Behind The Scenes footage reveals how Kyrie & the cast become their characters via prosthetic makeup. Even the cast & crew were having a fun time during the outtakes.
Negative: Product Placement is everywhere featuring many brands such as Pepsi, (duh) Gatorade, Aleve, Nike, Spalding, Enterprise, Oberto, Acer. I’m giving this a pass, because most sports related games tend to sponsor brands.
A trailer unintentionally gives away a plot point involving Tiffany Haddish’s character Jess is now in a relationship with Mookie.
Another plot point from one of the trailers reveals Lisa Leslie’s character Betty Lou as an additional team member taking Big Fella’s place after suffering a heart attack.
Once again, marketing of the film accidentally reveals Drew boosting his teammates confidence with “special gear.” Didn’t Hollywood learn anything about Warner Bros. (WB for short) poor marketing from Batman Vs. Superman or Terminator: Salvation? If something gives away a plot twist or anything important, a point is automatically subtracted before a film opens in theaters.
Cinematography often suffered from Shaky Cam. Who’s the cameraman behind all this Woody Woodpecker on Red Bull?
Other than winning the tournament, we never get to witness Drew’s team won or lost a game, even a dance-off never displays who’s the victor or the loser. Ever heard of the phrase “Show, Don’t Tell?” What if Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story never showed us how Average Joe’s & Global Gym keep winning each game?
Chemistry between Dax & his love interest Maya was a distraction. Did one of the writers suffered from Writer’s Block? I consider Dax Maya’s romance weak.
The Final Verdict: C, FOR CHAZ BONO (Cher’s daughter turned son) IN THE CRAPPER!
Uncle Drew is an underwhelming sports comedy that tried to become a spiritual successor to Space Jam, but didn’t do so well due to incompetent marketing, a contrived excuse to get Lisa Leslie joining the game after Shaq suffered a heart attack & worst of all, the movie never showed Drew’s team winning a game besides winning the whole tournament. If I were you, don’t waste your money on this, watch Space Jam, that’ll keep you entertained.
I hereby declare Uncle Drew as one of the most disappointing films of 2018 (so far) next to The Cloverfield Parodox, Tomb Raider & Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Don’t forget to check out my full spoiler reviews for the latter three.
By the way, Space Jam 2 is in the works right now with LeBron James following Michael Jordan’s footsteps in the lead role. Will Michael make a cameo in the film? Who knows?