Love and Basketball (2000) from Johnny Web

The 11 year old son of a NBA star is about to lose his first playground game, so he pushes this new opponent to prevent a clear drive to the basket. The opponent falls and is scarred - for life, as it turns out.

What makes the moment special is that his opponent is the girl who just moved in next door.

The scar she earned that day becomes a badge of honor, and a symbol through her life and their long relationship. The film traces the ups and downs of their two-NBA relationship, with special focus on the women's side of the athletics.

It's a good love story. Although it doesn't stray too far from the formula, and things sometimes seem a bit too contrived and pat, it has a real honesty in the interaction of the individual scenes. All of the major characters are complex and interesting and you feel like you get to know them. I especially liked the high-school scenes, in which the girl was trying to figure out the right gender behavior for a heterosexual woman whose only recreational thoughts center around basketball.

This film is not a great work of art, but is a well packaged and perfectly performed feel-good movie about people trying to be good people, trying to find their place in the world. I don't think I would have chosen this movie on my own, but once it started I really got into it.

There is an ever so miniscule amount of nudity (a barely discernible nipple peek) from Sanaa Lathan, star of the movie and daughter of veteran director Stan Lathan.

IMDB summary: 6.6 out of 10. Apollo 76, Apollo users 86.

Rotten Tomatoes summary. Good reviews, 72% positive reviews overall, and a very high 86% from the top critics. It seems to me that the solid but unspectacular 6.6 at IMDb is in the correct range, while the 86% is misleading.

DVD info from Amazon. Pretty good DVD. Includes a widescreen version, blooper reel, deleted scenes, full-length commentary, isolated musical score, and some tapes from the auditions.

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