After seeing The Longshots, I stand by it. It is neither different, good, nor inspiring. Yes, the story is “inspired by a true story,” so the subject should be (and has been) applauded. That subject is Jasmine Plummer, a teen from Harvey, Illinois who, pigtails-and-all, went on to become the first female to play in the Pop Warner football tournament.
For the movie, the story is relocated to Minden, a town lined with boarded-up storefronts and factories. With dreams of leaving the town, Curtis Plummer (Ice Cube) is saving money to move to Miami. So far, his funds are a few ones and fives in a beat-up lockbox. His plans are sidelined when his sister (Tasha Smith) needs a babysitter for her daughter, Jasmine (Keke Palmer).
It’s here, too obviously, the story develops. Curtis finds Jasmine has a great throwing arm and begs the Minden Brown’s coach (Matt Craven) to put her on the team. And, like most underdog stories go, Jasmine gets her proverbial balls busted, earns her teammates’ respect, and makes it to the Big Game.
If there’s one remarkable thing about The Longshots, it’s not in the story. It’s that the talented Keke Palmer (2006’s Akeelah and the Bee) would want to play on the same team as two former hip-hop heavyweights, Ice Cube (N.W.A. and solo) and director Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit), when her career is just starting to take form.
Is my one-and-a-half star rating too harsh? Not at all. What Jasmine accomplished with her uncle is a nice (some might say “heartwarming,” but I won’t let you fall for that) little story, but the entire movie—complete with a small town that comes together, a reluctant mentor, and “even if we lose, we still win” moral—has all been done before. What’s the point?
Jasmine Plummer: The Real Longshot (6:44): The inspiration for The Longshots is under the spotlight here, with comments from Ice Cube, Fred Durst, Keke Palmer, her uncle, and Plummer herself mixed with footage from the movie and the premiere.
Making The Longshots (8:06): This standard featurette combines on-set footage with interviews. A quick enough watch.
In A Conversation with Ice Cube (5:30), the rapper-turned-“actor” clutches a football and discusses shooting The Longshots, while in A Conversation with Fred Durst (7:26), the rapper/rocker-turned-“director” shows his passionate side and appreciation for Ice Cube and Jasmine Plummer.