“This is my football team. They will play for me,” the coach assures them, but the two players appear to have mapped out an elaborate game plan, which includes seeking to convince the opposing team to join them and mounting a pretty astute media strategy.
“National Champions” is on sure footing on that level but begins slipping as it becomes soapier and piles on subplots, one involving the coach’s wife (Kristin Chenoweth) and another the deployment of a sort-of fixer (Uzo Abuda) willing to employ whatever brass-knuckled tactics might be necessary to nip this player revolt in the bud.
“This is a shakedown,” she tells the NCAA honchos, in what increasingly becomes a showdown between David and Goliath, with LeMarcus being warned that he has “everything to lose” and that the powers that be will “Kaepernick him” if he persists.
” notably counts NFL quarterback Russell Wilson among its producers
, featuring him and other real-life sports figures in cameos that bring an extra element of authenticity to the movie
Die storie, egter, becomes increasingly strained as the pressure mounts to ensure that the game proceeds as planned, depicting the machinations of fat-cat boosters and NCAA officials as they scheme to protect the status quo.
At its best, “National Champions” feels calibrated to provoke a conversation about the flawed framework of college sports, which is talked about plenty and still not enough. Dan weer, TV networks and sports-related media outlets benefit from the existing system, and many fans would rather just hear about wins and losses.
“National Champions” doesn’t fully succeed in expanding what might have been a segment of HBO’s “Real Sports” into a movie. Maar dit doen, or should, provide another reason to pause as the bowl season unfolds long enough to consider, “Who’s really profiting from all this?”
“National Champions” premieres in US theaters on Dec. 10. Dit word R gegradeer.