Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.
Boston Celtic Kyrie Irving is officially a triple threat.
A superstar on the court, an actor on the big screen and a bonafide RECORDING ARTIST.
Not only has Kyrie turned some viral videos in to a starring role in a major motion picture, turns out, this kid can SING. That’s right...not rapping...no autotune...well, not the obvious kind anyway, he’s got a song on the soundtrack, and SPOILER ALERT: It’s fantastic! Go ahead and give it a listen: ---> Ridiculous (It's ok, I'll wait.)
For those of you who have never seen those Uncle Drew videos that went viral a few years back, Kyrie is hidden under a metric-ton of makeup as the fictional 70-something legend of blacktop basketball. He sneaks on to a court, pretending to be an old old OLD-timer (think Bill Russell of TODAY...all grey...Silver Fox-style), and begins to razzle dazzle in pure Kyrie fashion. The unsuspecting crowd at the court goes bananas, and the views blew up (much to Pepsi’s chagrin...after all, they were behind them in the first place) The videos to date have over 95 million views. And thus, the legend of “Uncle Drew” was born.
The feature film version takes a lot from the videos, but in no way do you need to be familiar to follow along. This story is centered around the Rucker Park Classic street ball tournament in Harlem.
Coach Dax (Lil Rel Howery from Get Out) is betting his entire life’s savings on his team to win the 100,000.00 purse for first place, when he starts to hit some pretty awful setbacks. His longtime nemesis Mookie, (played by the hilarious Nick Kroll) quickly steals his team AND his girlfriend (Comedian Tiffany Haddish--hey Hollywood, please put her in ALL the movies from now on, ok? Thanks!) Dax is so desperate to put a new team together to play the tournament, that he seeks out the legendary Uncle Drew, and asks him to join his team after seeing what he can do on the court.
Drew agrees on one condition, only if he can put his old team back together. The film sort of putters along until we meet the rest of the squad. That’s when things get cooking. Fellow basketball greats Chris Webber, (in some hilarious hair and makeup as ‘the preacher’), the magnificent Lisa Leslie,(as the Preacher’s wife). Reggie Miller as a legally blind baller named “Lights”, who’s just a joy to watch, all gangly and goofy. Nate Robinson is completely unrecognizable under all that faux wrinkled skin and a sweet Frederick Douglass wig. And last but not least, Shaquille O’Neal shows up looking like, well, Shaq, but older and with a Wolverine hair do. Sidebar: I forgot how much fun Shaq is to watch on screen, and that, Kazaam aside (OOF!), he needs to be in more movies.
Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.
Dusting off 50 years of cobwebs, the team enters the tournament, and has a great first day of games. They decide to go out to a dance club to celebrate, and that is when this movie finally hits it’s stride.
From that moment on, Uncle Drew had me. I laughed, I yelled, I was dazzled by the b-ball moves, and embarrassingly enough, I was MOVED. It’s actually a heart-felt flick. Watching these guys play together is just pure magic on screen. And considering the majority of them have never acted before, it’s incredibly impressive.
Stand Out Shout Outs:
- The soundtrack! With old school joints from The Gap Band to the Dazz Band, I was in my glory. The new school is represented with some of today’s best in hip hop, including a funky jam called “Ridiculous” by Uncle Drew himself. Kyrie’s got chops! One more sidebar: He recorded his vocals right here in our neck of the woods at Q Division Studios in Somerville, MA!
- Lisa Leslie!! The WNBA phenom showing off her comedic chops AND her sweet court moves.
- The always funny JB Smoove in a role he was born to play: an old guy on the corner talking smack about the good ol' days.
- THE SHOES!!! Sneaker porn. Like you read about. Damn.
What started out as a funny viral video to sell some soda, turned in to a pretty great family-friendly flick. I’m betting we haven’t heard the last from Uncle Drew. And yes, you can take the family.