In 1970s Philadelphia, Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard) turns a group of troubled teens at a local youth center into a swim team. The film is based on a true story.
Big question: Can "Pride" capture the tone of the period and deliver a distinctive feel-good story?
Skip it: "Pride" is simplistic in its discussion of racism--there's even a conversation about the world not being black and white--while failing to show how the team stuck with school and gained the support of the community. The unifying message would be more worthwhile than Ellis restating, "I believe in them so much." Yeah, we got that.
Catch it: For predictable but enjoyable soundtrack songs by James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and others (in case the flashy shirts and tight pants don't do enough to indicate that it's set in the '70s).
Bottom line: File this one under "Same old thing." The story's touching, but real-life triumphs lose their feel-good value when the movies about them are so ordinary. "Pride" just plays like a mix of "Dangerous Minds" and "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo."
Bonus: Want a swimming pool but can't afford one? Ask Ellis for advice. He appears to have found a way to manage a pool without chlorine, maintenance or financing of any kind!
Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.
Directed by Sunu Gonera; screenplay by Kevin Michael Smith, Michael Gozzard, J. Mills Goodloe and Norman Vance Jr.; cinematography by Matthew F. Leonetti; edited by Billy Fox; production design by Steve Saklad; music by Aaron Zigman; produced by Brett Forbes, Patrick Rizzotti, Michael Ohoven, Adam Rosenfelt and Paul Hall. A Lionsgate release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:44. MPAA rating: PG (for thematic material, language including some racial epithets, and violence).
Jim Ellis - Terrence Howard
Elston - Bernie Mac
Sue Davis - Kimberly Elise
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