There is very little of note to be said against Irving, but that doesn’t stop it from being terribly unfunny
For the best part of 90 minutes Uncle Drew embodies a sense of humour with far too little emphasis placed on the ‘humour’. The focus, basketball star Kyrie Irving made up to look like an old man, is effectively the films ’banker’ joke, and it desperately wants for it to be far funnier than it is. With this theme carried out over a prolonged period, it becomes particularly tiresome. It’s a joke that raises a rye smile, maybe once, but then becomes just a character. There is very little of note to be said against Irving, but that doesn’t stop it from being terribly unfunny.
Dax (Lil Rel Howery) is an out of luck small time basketball coach on the verge of losing his girlfriend and all of his players. When the inevitable hits, Dax needs to find a team fast for the Rucker Classic. After hearing about the legend Uncle Drew (Kyrie Irving) now in his twilight years, Dax searches him out hoping to reignite an old fire and give himself a shot at finally winning the best tournament around.
It seems to plod along for the most part, with strange bouts of young men in old man makeup smashing a team of extras at basketball. Knowing nothing about the characters or stars beforehand would put anyone at a severe disadvantage, missing out on some of the more niche sections of the comedy.
Uncle Drew does feel slightly different from the majority of other sports films, but not in its execution, as it brings the underdogs to a tournament, giving them, originally, no hope of a win. There needed to be a stronger separation from other mainline sports comedies having a wildly different lead character. Uncle Drew has the awareness, but the quality isn’t there to force it to succeed.
Without a real goal, there is a strong meander coming from the film’s plot, and without punchy dialogue it didn’t really have a chance. Yet, buoyed by a big cast of unusual stars, Uncle Drew will find an audience. It’s just whether that audience will actually enjoy the rest of the film after the immediate introduction of Kyrie Irving and his strange old character Uncle Drew has passed.
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