Lana K. Wilson-Combs
The 1992 movie "White Men Can't Jump" which stars Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson is a classic basketball dramedy.
While I used to think filmmakers should leave well enough alone and not tinker with my favorite classic movies, some remakes have actually turned out far better than I expected.
It's often true that there is nothing quite like the real thing, but if a producer can bring something new to a remake while still maintaining the essence of the original, then I'm open to seeing it.
Denzel Washington's "The Magnificent Seven" is an amazing remake. Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston delivered big time in the 2012 remake of "Sparkle."
There are several others too, but I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this new version of "White Men Can't Jump"
from director Charles "Calmatic" Kidd II ("House Party" remake) and screenwriters Kenya Barris
("You People" and TV's "Black-ish") and Doug Hall
(TV's "Black-ish" and "BlackAF").
"White Men Can't Jump" is streaming on Hulu
and stars rapper Jack Harlow ("F9: The Last Saga") and Sinqua Walls who was sensational as Don Cornelius in the television miniseries, "American Soul." Walls is also starring in the upcoming horror comedy, "The Blackening" which opens June 16.
In "White Men Can't Jump," Jeremy (Harlow) is a former talented basketball player from Gonzaga who suffers from knee injuries and saw his career fade away.
Kamal Allen (Walls) was a Los Angeles high school phenom with a stern father (the late Lance Reddick, "John Wick: Chapter 4"). Kamal's bad temper led to bad choices while in school and that's what ultimately shattered his hoop dreams. Now, Kamal works as a package deliverer and has to contend with people who remember him from back in the day. People are constantly asking what happened to him. It gets old quick.
When Kamal and Jeremy meet at a pickup basketball game, they don't hit it off well at all. As they say, game recognizes game and before long these two hustlers discover they have enough game to take on everyone entering the gym.
Trash talking aside, they both need the extra cash. Jeremy's supportive, but increasingly impatient girlfriend Tatiana (Laura Harrier, TV's "Mike") wants more from their relationship because his juice cleansing/detox drink hasn't taken off. Kamal and his girlfriend Imani (Teyana Taylor, "Coming 2 America") have a young son to raise and his job and her hairdressing gig in their cramped apartment isn't cutting it either.
Consequently, Jeremy and Kamal devise a plan to hustle money in pickup games around LA so they can pay the entry fee for a huge basketball tournament. The winner gets $500,000. Talk about a gamechanger. The more time Jeremy and Kamal spend together they discover they have more in common than they originally thought.
While the banter and chemistry between Kamal and Jeremy is lighthearted and funny, the movie's other big laughs come courtesy of Kamal's hoop friends, Renzo (Myles Bullock, TV's "Dave") and Speedy (TV's "Abbott Elementary").
Best of all, "White Men Can't Jump" isn't filled with foul language. I also appreciated the smart manner in which the writers approached the racial aspects of the film along with its timely message of compassion and understanding.
"White Men Can't Jump" scores again.
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Look At This Trailer For "WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.