America’s Underrated Review: Godly Kurt Warner Biography Fails to Convert

The Christian duo behind “I Still Believe” return with the unbelievable true story of a big, handsome, and good ball-playing man.

The amazing true story of a big and handsome man who was good at football and – thanks to his unwavering faith in Jesus Christ – never gave up his dream of playing it with numbers. giant money, Andrew and Jon Erwin”American style“Didn’t quite sell the “against the odds” angle promised by its title. That’s not to say that Kurt Warner’s legend from Cedar Falls supermarket salesman to oldest Super Bowl-winning quarterback in NFL history is unworthy of being made into a miniseries. great sports history, it’s just a miracle that anyone can become a famous athlete (as the opening narration of this movie tells us in statistical detail), and The Erwin brothers fails to turn Warner’s story into particularly compelling evidence of all that is possible.

Inspired by Warner’s memoir “All Things Possible: My Story of Faith, Football and the First Miracle Season,” “American Underdog” is essentially “Rudy” if Rudy Ruettiger has been played by an extreme superhero. loves to eat (star “Shazam!” Zachary Levi) instead of a potta-toe-obsessed Hobbit. However, unlike the pint-sized reserve who was brought off the field during his senior year at Notre Dame, Warner had to wait a little longer for his Wheaties boxing moment (albeit an arm’s length). throw with enough firepower to win a spot in Lauren Boebert’s Christmas Card).

And in the meantime, his passions and beliefs are blown a hundred times over by the complexities of life outside the cold walls of higher education. He falls in love with a jump rope divorcee named Brenda (Anna Paquin), promises to help raise her young daughter and legally blind son, and struggles to maintain that commitment without letting himself be. Disappointed after being cut off from the Green Bay Packers on day two of camp.

Like so many of the faith-based biographical works that have helped transform the genre into a border-crossing phenomenon, “American Underdog” is perpetuated by a vague enthusiasm for the subject’s difficulties (in this case). this: poverty, tornadoes, and a wife whose devotion to Jesus Christ is surpassed only by her devotion to bad wigs). Every 10 seconds of football action, we have 10 minutes of Levi staring into the camera like a deer in headlights and wondering “why did God give me a dream that never comes true?” .” What evil god would bless someone with the upper body of a small mountain range, only to curse them with the responsibilities of an adult? Make it meaningful!

Of course, the Erwin brothers – filmmakers are extremely active with recent Walmart products from belief-based music biofilms like “I Still Believe” to football biofilms based on Beliefs like “Woodlawn” and this movie – have become megachurch cinema’s top artisans because their films can be mistaken for secular fare if you glance at them. Telling stories that emphasize the general hardships associated with religious persecution and keeping God quiet until the third act, the Erwins tend to avoid the Newsmax mobs in favor of the Trojan galloping to the screen. god of the American multiplexer and “American Underdog” is the duo’s most impossible bid for mainstream success to date.

Jesus has a smaller part in this movie than he did in Kurt Warner’s actual Super Bowl victory speech, and with the exception of a lifeless scene about Brenda’s relationship with her lord and savior she – and the general anti-dramatic flatness of a movie in which Every Hail Mary was eventually rewarded with a hit – there isn’t much of a separation between “American Underdog” and “The Blind Side”. “. Levi’s newly revamped star power gave the film a commercial pedigree that was lacking compared to Erwins’ predecessor, even if his eye-opening work was similarly undone “but” I’m just a ridiculously oversized child!” schtick makes him so happy in “Shazam!” (but that might explain why no one even tried to reduce the age of 41-year-old Levi during Kurt’s college years).

Paquin, meanwhile, has the opposite effect; Her participation may not help bridge the gap between Pure Flix and Hollywood, but she added legitimacy to “American Underdog” by rescuing her character from bad dialogue and bad suits. worse in the most nuanced performance anyone who’s seen a Kevin Sorbo movie has ever seen (suspiciousness only grows more pronounced whenever a right-wing advocate like Adam Baldwin shows up in the film). a supporting role). Bruce McGill spiced things up as an arena football coach, Dennis Quaid is definitely another actor to hit the screen and young Hayden Zaller is absolutely adored as his blind son. of Brenda, and he and Paquin manage to score a raw emotional manipulation shock when they team up to pull off a trick game in the fourth quarter — a feat in a movie that empties between eye roll and acceptable with a basic level of braindead viewability.

Is “American Underdog” a good movie? Not even a bit, but that’s like saying “Dog Power” is a bad microwave toaster. Traditional measures of quality seem to be largely irrelevant when it comes to a biopic that is less concerned with satisfying any narrative conflicts than with paying off the character’s mental investment main. The Erwins’ orientation for its flatness (every scene, no matter where it takes place, somehow looks like it was shot in a supermarket) or cut out their theme script because of a failure to dramatize it. calculates a major Warner flaw (we’ve warned a million times that Kurt will foul at the first sign of adversity both on and off the field, despite the fact that he’s portrayed as the man most tenacious man who ever lived) will be flawed.

With “American Underdog,” Erwins turned the life story of a man who came out of his mother’s womb with 214-pound shoulders into a modern parable about the miracles Jesus could do. for those who have the courage to believe in him. – and self-expanding. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the commercial spirit of American Christianity than with the story of a man who was born to the greatest advantage he could possibly have, and still feels as their success is the result of rightly praying to God.

Grade: OLD

“American Underdog” is currently showing in theaters.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2021/12/american-underdog-review-1234686634/ America’s Underrated Review: Godly Kurt Warner Biography Fails to Convert

Aila Slisco

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