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Like Mike

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
Like Mike

from Film Forum, 07/11/02

In the new sports comedy Like Mike, nobody threatens to destroy the world. The problems are much more kid-sized. Junior rap star Lil' Bow Wow (nephew of grownup rap star Snoop Dogg) plays an orphan who discovers a pair of magic sneakers, which let him soar with the NBA's best. As he becomes a mini-Michael Jordan, he brings some lessons to the pros about teamwork and friendship, overcomes his own insecurities, and finds a family.

This formulaic, kid-oriented comedy surprised critics in both the mainstream and religious press. Michael Elliott says, "The story … is both silly and predictable but, to its credit, once it establishes its credulity-stretching premise, it stays faithful to it. Even though there will be a fair amount of eye-rolling early on, it's impossible to completely dismiss this film as being ridiculous. It is ridiculous, of course … but it is also refreshing, disarming, and just outright enjoyable despite its ridiculousness."

A critic at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says, "Like Mike is an old-fashioned, sweet story that charms with endearing characters and an underdog-turned-hero plot. That's not to say that director John Schultz's fantasy flick isn't predictable—it is—but it is also good-natured fun with nifty visual effects. And thrown into the bargain is a message that every child deserves a family."

Bob Waliszewski (Focus on the Family) says, "There's plenty to like about Mike: family, friendship, self-sacrifice. Watch out for a few jolts of negative electricity, but this high-flying basketball flick is worth considering." Mary Draughon (Preview), Tom Snyder (Movieguide), and Phil Boatwright echo praise for the way the film deals with "serious issues." "Not a great film," says Boatwright, "but kind of fun."