(2005) * 1/2 Pg
87 min. 20th Century Fox. Director: Steve Carr. Cast: Martin Lawrence, Patrick Warburton, Megan Mullally, Alia Shawkat, Breckin Meyer.

There's been a "Bad News Bears" for a lot of sports now: baseball, hockey, football, soccer, and—with the new Martin Lawrence movie Rebound—basketball. Rebound adheres strictly to formula: bad-boy coach finds himself by discovering the joys of mentoring pint-sized spazzes who had it in them to be a great team all along. On a kid level, it's sort of cute and sort of heartfelt, but you've seen it all before, and better.

Lawrence plays a star college basketball coach with a bad reputation and a bad temper. He's so self-absorbed that he allows a commercial shoot to make him late for a game, then gets thrown out for getting in the ref's face. A further miscalculation costs him his team and perhaps his whole career, but he has one shot to get it all back, by coaching the Mount Vernon Junior High School Smelters.

From the land of sitcoms comes the poorly used supporting cast: Patrick Warburton, Megan Mullaly, Horatio Sanz, Breckin Meyer (who just won't go away), and Alia Shawkat (Maeby from Arrested Development). Among the kids is Steven Anthony Lawrence, last seen learning soccer teamsmanship in Kicking and Screaming.

You could watch this movie in your head and save the eight bucks: picture the cameo by the cast of The Best Damn Sports Show Period, the slapstick puking and errant basketballs, and the lessons learned by every character. Lawrence's coach learns to stop being selfish and love the game. The kids learn to pass the ball, overcome nerves, and stop obsessing on image (particularly the B-ball "kicks"). Even the league ref learns a lesson: to trust himself.

Don't forget to imagine Lawrence playing a second unfunny character (long-haired, gold-toothed Preacher Don) and to hear "Jump Around," "Hey Ya," and "Eye of the Tiger" in your head. Coming soon to a theatre near you: "Water Wings," with Adam Sandler coaching a swim team, and "With a Paddle," starring Eddie Murphy as a ping-pong coach.

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