Picks and Pans Review: Invincible

updated 09/04/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/04/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks

With nothing left to lose—his wife and teaching job are already gone—Vince Papale (Wahlberg) attends open tryouts for his beloved, basement-dwelling Philadelphia Eagles. His grit impresses new coach Dick Vermeil (Kinnear) and reinvigorates both the team and its downtrodden fans.

It could be just another artificial, manipulative feel-good film, but Invincible, based on a true story, honestly earns its grins, tears and goose bumps. In a confident debut, director Ericson Core smartly goes easy on the schmaltz. Ditto Wahlberg, who keeps Papale grounded, as if he expects his improbable dream to end at any moment. (PG)

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