Opens Friday December 22 WE ARE MARSHALL (McG). 127 minutes. For venues and times, see Movies, page 91. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Director McG has a name like a hamburger and makes movies like Happy Meals.
As hyperbolic popcorn entertainment, Charlie's Angels (une et deux) hit the spot, with a tasty side of sex appeal -- embodied by Cameron Diaz's bouncing booty -- to help us swallow the silliness.
Now he's trying to change his style-as-substance fauxteur image with the more balanced We Are Marshall , the true story of a doomed football team from the 70s.
The result is more appetizing than any overcooked inspirational sports movie (easily the most cloying genre going) should be, even if you do hope McG will cut loose with some glossy rapid-fire camera work during the paint-by-numbers game sequences.
Matthew McConaughey plays a ridiculous yet charming good ol' boy hired to rebuild the Marshall U football program after most of the team is killed in a plane crash. His Coach Lengyel is a slouching, unathletic aphorism-spouter who walks like he pissed his plaid polyester pants. Yet he manages to rally the team and the town with the help of Lost's Matthew Fox as the shell-shocked assistant coach who chose to skip the flight, and standout Anthony Mackie as an anguished yet driven player who missed the fatal trip because of an injury.
True story or not, the film sees McG calling a few too many textbook plays from Brian's Song and Friday Night Lights. But while he can never quite get the movie into the end zone, he's made a good -- but not great -- sports drama.