Picks and Pans Review: Cool Runnings

updated 10/11/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/11/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Leon. Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis, Malik Yoba, John Candy

Bobsledding is one of those bizarre sports most of us watch during the Winter Olympics because it's there, not because we care. The same can be said for this mildly amusing but overly calculated comedy, based loosely on the stouthearted Jamaican bobsled team that went to the 1988 Games in Calgary.

A kind of Rocky on Ice, thanks to its theme of overcoming severe odds, Cool follows four athletes as I hey form a bobsled team on an island nation where the only ice to be found is bobbing in drinks. As their coach, they enlist a grizzled, down-at-his-heels American (Candy) who won two Olympic gold medals years ago. The problem is that once the guys get to Calgary and the Games the movie becomes tick-'em-off predictable. Consider: 1) each team member has a big scene in which his character is tested; 2) the coach's dark secret is revealed; 3) there's a sappy speech about what it means to compete in the Olympics, followed by 4) an even sappier speech about what it means to be a man.

The major cast members, led by the always reliable Candy, are eager to please, and they do. What doesn't please are the many blatant shills for Coca-Cola and American Airlines. Sure, the resulting money may have helped trim the budget, but ultimately too many plugs diminish the product. (PG)

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