The Chicago-set dramedy “Game Day” is way past its expiration date — and not just because it was mainly shot in 2015. With its deeply creaky gender and racial themes, this strained film evokes something unearthed from several decades ago, if not before.
Erica (Elizabeth Alderfer), a sullen, humorless, supposed tech whiz, who’s admittedly “not a people person,” gets caught up in some muddled business involving an internet start-up. She’s then stuck working for a generic firm steeped in “bro” culture where she’s treated like an outsider because, y’know, a woman.
If only she could play basketball with the fellas, maybe they’d take her seriously. Seriously?
So Erica, who goes by “Ricki” because, at heart, she’s really just one of the guys, hires a poor but proud African American teen, Lucas (actor/rapper Romeo Miller, formerly Lil’ Romeo), as a hoops coach. A wary friendship blossoms, Ricki gets game, learns teamwork and things improve at the office. At least she didn’t have to pull a “Yentl.”
But when the Ricki-Lucas dynamic peters out, writer-director John Susman contrives some “‘hood” mayhem that nearly derails the already shaky story.
Alderfer does the best she can given her ill-conceived part and the film’s misguided setup. Miller, Jurgen Hooper, Chris Johnson and the late Fyvush Finkel provide decent support, but others get lost in clichéd or underwritten roles (those parents!).
Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Playing: Starts Oct. 4, Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills