From all accounts - trailers, commercials, and other advertisements, Crossover is a movie about street basketball. How is this different than regular basketball? It's cooler. There are fewer rules and more roughhousing. It's "real" basketball played by kids on the streets. Well, the advertising is wrong. Basketball games bookend Crossover, and the remainder of the movie is a story about two friends trying to rise about their low-income backgrounds and achieve something better. An admirable story, but the execution is terrifically flawed leading to a dull melodrama full of listless acting and boring lines.
Everything that writer/director Preston A. Whitmore II (The Walking Dead, Civil Brand) does is completely by the books. Two talented friends, Tech (Anthony Mackie, Half Nelson, Freedomland) and Noah (Wesley Jonathan, Roll Bounce, Baadasssss!) want to do more with their life, but go about this in different ways. Noah wants to go to medical school. He just won a basketball scholarship to a college in Los Angeles, and he plans to go there and pursue his education. Tech is looking for glory in the NBA. He believes that he has what it takes to make it, and believes that a commercial shoot he is aiming for will help him win publicity.
Both honed their skills in games arranged by Vaughn (Wayne Brady, Roll Bounce, Clifford's Really Big Movie). Vaughn pays them to play, so Noah stops, knowing that this may forfeit his eligibility. The different paths that Noah and Tech look to take strains their relationship, as do their new girlfriends, Eboni (Alecia Frears) and Vanessa (Eva Pigford). Eboni loves Tech, but he's too pig-headed to notice. The lure of the NBA and quick riches is more tempting for Vanessa than an education and lasting future. Tech is a bit bitter because Noah is the better player, but wants to pursue something else.
Basically, Whitmore has the four characters sit around, make decisions that real people would find moronic, and argue a lot. It's supposed to be "dramatic." Yes, Noah and Tech are at crossroads in their life, but the script seems to make things much harder than they need to be. Another issue is the acting. Pigford is a shrill caricature. Jonathan is not good at displaying a range of emotions. Mackie? This is the saddest part. In the past few years, Mackie has appeared in a number of movies. Some are forgettable, but his roles in She Hate Me, Half Nelson, and Brother to Brother were really good, enough to mark him as somebody to watch for. It's too bad he chose to follow them up with something as forgettable as Crossover. A general rule of thumb is that once somebody moves from high school roles to adult roles, he/she should never regress unless it's for something phenomenal. Crossover was nowhere near that level..
|Haro Rates It: Really Bad.|
|1 hour, 35 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some language.|
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