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Review: ‘Break Point’ scores with upbeat charm on and off the court

David Walton stars as Darren and Amy Smart as Heather in the film "Break Point."

David Walton stars as Darren and Amy Smart as Heather in the film “Break Point.”

(Michael Nolan / Broad Green Pictures)

The affable, shaggy-dog tennis comedy “Break Point” is bristly and charming, just like its star and producer, Jeremy Sisto, who plays the affable shaggy-dog Jimmy Price, a washed-up semi-pro tennis player.

Having burned through doubles partners, he’s in search of someone willing to make a run at one last tournament with him. But with all of his bridges torched, the last and only option is his brother, whom he ditched 15 years ago. The recently heartbroken substitute teacher Darren (David Walton) takes on Jimmy’s offer for lack of better things to do, and the brothers begin to rebuild their game and their relationship.

Veteran comedy director Jay Karas brings a relaxed and sunny sense to the proceedings, allowing the often potty-mouthed characters to volley one-liners and bits of physical comedy. J.K. Simmons and Amy Smart are relegated to rather one-dimensional dad and love-interest roles, so best supporting honors go to 13-year-old Joshua Rush, who steals the show as unabashedly preppy dork Barry.

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A student of Darren’s, the lonely oddball tween is an unshakable hanger-on during the summer break but becomes their biggest fan and official ball boy. His sweetly polite and proper nature is the perfect foil for Sisto’s character’s foul-mouthed dirtbag lessons in manliness.

This light comedy stretches beyond sports to find emotion at its core, without sacrificing laughs.

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“Break Point.”

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MPAA rating: R for language, sexual references.

Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes. Playing: AMC Universal CityWalk 19.

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