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June 05, 2005 - Image 11

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-06-05

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, July 5, 2005 - 11

Lawrence can't save
lackluster family comedy
By Imran Syed and has to do it in the "cut-throat middle school
Daily Arts Writer division" - yes, that's a direct quote - at the
school where his basketball dream began. In
guiding a team of misfits to the top, Coach Roy
inevitably finds himself and remembers once
Remember the days when Martin Lawrence again his love for the game.
was a star worth talking about, when all his A kids/sports movie such as this one is, for
movies were relative hits and he started to pull all intents and purposes, doomed from the
in $20 million a flick? Yeah, neither do we - start. No matter what course it chooses, the
but as hard as it is to believe, that was only about final outcome, whether the underdogs become
three years ago. While fel- champions or lose in heart-breaking fashion,
low "Bad Boy" Will Smith will seem like it's been done before. Which,
went on to become one of Rebound of course, is because it has been done before.
Hollywood's most coveted At the Showcase Parents will be left to wonder how exactly the
alents and fellow actor- and Quality 16 story here is different from better genre films
:omedian Jamie Foxx won 2eth Centuy Fos like "Little Giants" or "The Mighty Ducks."
an Oscar, Lawrence became As such, "Rebound" suffers the most because
largely irrelevant, surfacing it's just too damn archetypal. All the normal
>nly occasionally with repetitive, mildly offen- underdogs-overcoming-all-odds elements are
ive and progressively less funny projects. Now here. There's a self-centered coach who redis-
iere is the family-friendly "Rebound," which, covers himself; there's an unguided group of
hough it might serve as a mildly amusing kids who look inside themselves and find great-
liversion for the tykes, does absolutely nothing ness; there's a geek who makes the 1lth hour,
or the star's flailing career. game-defining play to achieve immortality;
The film follows Roy McCormick (Law- there's even the usual coach-and-star-player's-
ence), a nobody from the ghetto who made it mother romance.
ig in basketball as a coach. Unable to deal with Lawrence pulls out every trick in his hack-
he responsibilities of success, he goes from the neyed book (the smooth walk, the crazy out-
op coach in college basketball to nearly getting burst, the mad-crazy lingo), but just can't get
. lifetime ban for his on-court antics. To gain the stale and underdeveloped plot to really take
ack his job, he must prove himself once more off. The film opens with several sequences

"Remember: follow through with your punches, just like Ron Artest."

that are all-too predictable and seem to never
end. Though it eventually picks up steam by
the finish (and ends brilliantly jamming to
"Eye of the Tiger," originally from a much
better underdog film), it simply is too slow
and labored to be entertaining.
The supporting cast is surprisingly lame, con-
sidering that the usually super-peppy Megan
Mullally (TV's "Will and Grace") and the fan-
tastically mercurial Horatio Sanz (TV's "Satur-
day Night Live") are the headliners. Mullally is
too held back and unable to unleash any of her
hilarious quirks under the restrictive script while
Sanz, unable to fake Korean accents or sing the
usual SNL songs, feels out of place. The rest,

made up of washed-up former TV stars (there's
at least three who appeared on "Seinfeld" and
one from "The Steve Harvey Show") are not
even worth mentioning, with the exception of
Patrick Warburton (TV's "Seinfeld").
Unfortunately for Lawrence, the film only
helps audiences to forget that he was once a
very funny comedian when given the chance
to truly run free. He just is not the type of
actor who can thrive in a PG film, so perhaps
his next one, the sequel to the relatively suc-
cessful "Big Momma's House;" will get him
on track again. Probably not, but at least he'll
have something to talk about next time he
runs into Will and Jada.

Memoir of life in China falters

DeWoskin's trip to China, not just her
experiences in playing the role of Jie Xi
in the series. Her television persona is
a promiscuous American woman who
threatens the marriage of a Chinese cou-
ple and its cultural foundations. Surprise,
surprise: she's not happy with it. Utiliz-
ing the series as a microcosm of China's
growing relationship to "Western" values
is clever, but after she finishes filming the
television series, her memoir meanders
and fails to depict an outsider's invaluable
insights into Chinese culture.
The worst part of the novel are the
interjections of Chinese. Sometimes their
use captures connotations that cannot be
conveyed in a single English word. But
how does "Jin Lai," roughly translated
as "come in," portray the ineffability of
the Chinese language? That's not cultural
curiosity - it's a lazy way of pushing a
foreign culture away. The book is loaded
with anecdotal information doused in
damaging apathy.
"Foreign Babes in Beijing" rein-
forces the common apprehensiveness
that often characterizes America's
attitude toward a non-European
way of life. The book contains

eosn sm percptuions ornow
the Chinese stereotype Americans,
and her own biases of the Chinese.
DeWoskin also addresses issues that
often are commonly used to delineate
China, such as suppressed individu-
alism and anti-American sentiment.
But she hasn't won the reader over
at this point, and pontificating on
a 5,000-year-old culture just makes
everyone feel stupid.

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