Picks and Pans Review: Eddie
Whoopi Goldberg, Frank Langella
It hasn't been a very good spring for the New York Knickerbockers. First they were dismissed from the NBA play-offs by their arch-rivals, the Chicago Bulls. Now they are the focus of this listless basketball comedy about a rabid fan (Goldberg) who wins a free-throw-shooting contest to become the team's "honorary coach." She ends up taking the job for real and sparring with the Knicks' gimmick-loving owner (Langella).
Goldberg's ingratiating charm and energy keep the movie afloat for a while, but it eventually sinks under the weight of its own silliness. Director Steve Rash (1978's The Buddy Holly Story) adds one nice touch, however: casting real-life players as the movie's Knicks. The Indiana Pacers' lumbering journeyman center Dwayne Schintzius plays a Russian import able to speak limited English ("Ivan make basket" and "Yo, baby, want to see my room?"). Even better is Malik Sealy, the L.A. Clippers' smooth guard, who plays the Knicks' arrogant star—he never passes the ball and always refers to himself in the third person. With the help of such pros as Larry Johnson of Charlotte (N.C.), Gary Payton of Seattle, and the Bulls' attention-hungry Dennis Rodman, the movie effectively portrays the cynicism and pomposity of today's NBA. If only it were more successful at bringing out the humor of the situation. (PG-13)
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