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
BY JASON LYNCH
CRITIC'S CHOICE
DRAMA

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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