Candid Cinema

‘White Men Can’t Jump’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

It’s hard for many to wrap their mind around a remake of one of their favourite films, but sometimes the remake can be good. In the case of White Men Can’t Jump, Director Calmatic modernizes the story and still pays homage to what came before it. The original film with Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson was released in 1992 and became a comfort film for many. In this remake, Sinqua Walls and Jack Harlow take on the same roles and have strong chemistry that carries the film. Even without watching the original, this remake is a fun sports dramedy with heart. Co-writers Kenya Barris, Doug Hall and Ron Shelton all come together to write humorous dialogue and hard-hitting emotional scenes. 

It is clear to everyone that Jack Harlow has never acted before, but it felt like this role was made for him. He did craft his character while still incorporating hints of what Harrelson did in the past. Jeremy (Harlow) wanted to be in the NBA his whole life, but after a bad injury, his knees couldn’t take the pressure of the game. Similar to Kamal (Walls), who was on the verge of greatness until he had some family issues to contend with and veered off the path he was on. They both loved basketball and wanted to join the big leagues, but it wasn’t in the cards for them. One day, both are short on cash, check their skills, and respect the other enough to join forces. They hustle some mini-games leading to playing the big tournament at the film’s end for a big cash prize. 

The chemistry between the cast makes this feel less generic than it could have been. Harlow and Walls have great banter, and the dialogue when delivering those racial jokes plays more as conversations. It’s more so Walls informing Harlow that his delivery is wrong and immediately changing it. Surprisingly, Vince Staples and Myles Bullock stole the spotlight as Kamal’s best friends. Their line delivery and comedic timing were spot on and came in to spice up the conversation at the right moments. The more involved Jeremy became in their lives, the more they could trust him and invite him to be part of theirs. They came from two backgrounds, but their love of basketball brought them together. 

White Men Can’t Jump is a big surprise win for Disney because they changed the film just enough to connect with modern audiences. It’s important for a remake to feel authentic to the period that it was released. The film has a lot of heart, good humour and some inspirational moments that bring comfort to audiences. It is the definition of a feel-good movie that can have repeated viewings. It also has Lance Riddick’s final performance as Kamal’s father. Sometimes people lose their way when making it to the top, but it’s necessary to look back and understand why you started on this journey in the first place. This film unexpectedly hit all the right beats and made a new comfort film for many. 


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