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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Like Mike
Like Mike
Fox // PG-13 // December 10, 2002
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted December 1, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

A somewhat thinly plotted opportunity for rapper Lil' Bow Wow to make an entrance into acting, "Like Mike" was a surprise success over the past Summer. Wow stars as Calvin Cambridge, an orphan who still holds out hope that he'll be adopted by a family who can care for him. When Calvin's given basketball sneakers with "MJ" written inside them and told that they "used to belong to some basketball player" by one of the nuns, he's thrilled. Unfortunately, it's not long before bully Ox (Jesse Plemons) throws up up on some power lines. When the speakers get hit by lightning and Calvin puts them on, he finds himself able to play basketball with the same kind of ability as Jordan.

When his abilities come to the attention of the losing local NBA team, Calvin gets recruited to the team. While general manager Frank Bernard (Eugene Levy) considers it a PR stunt, the team's coach (Robert Forster, no less) thinks the kid has potential and puts him into the game - suddenly, the team starts to win.

There's nothing here that hasn't been seen before. It's apparent from early on that there will be a "big game", that the player who was previously the team leader (Morris Chestnut) will be upset and that something will happen to the shoes, leaving Calvin to have to play on his own. Also, it becomes obvious that this is purely the rapper's show - while there is a decent supporting cast, they all generally look like they're passing the time (especially Forster and Eugene Levy, whose parts are paper-thin). The film probably wouldn't have worked as well as it does if Bow Wow wasn't any good, but he actually isn't a half bad actor. It's also fun to see other NBA personalities in decent cameos.

Given the familiarity of the material, "Like Mike" probably could have been cut down by a few minutes - at 100 minutes, it feels padded and slow-paced at points. Overall, a good 15 minutes could have easily gone. Some of the special effects used to allow Bow Wow to make his amazing leaps are also pretty lackluster.

Yet, I didn't totally dislike "Like Mike". The film is directed with a decent amount of energy and some of the jokes are fun and harmless, as they thankfully don't resort to bathroom humor. While the film could have been a bit tighter, less familiar and more developed in terms of character and story, kids should still find some fun with it.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Like Mike" is presented by 20th Century Fox in both 1.33:1 full-frame and 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The movie itself isn't too visually remarkable, but Fox's presentation is still quite a pleasing representation of the intended look of the film. Aside from a few minor shots, sharpness and detail remained pleasant; while the picture didn't appear remarkably well-defined, it still remained crisp and clear.

A few minor flaws occasionally creeped into the picture: some mild edge enhancement was apparent - and a bit bothersome - in a few scenes, while a couple of traces of pixelation were also viewed. On a positive note, the print used looked terrific and displayed no noticable instances of wear. The film's warm, bright color palette generally looked good, with rich tones and nice saturation.

SOUND: "Like Mike" is presented by Fox in Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound mix isn't going to stun anyone, but it's better than expected, considering the genre. Surrounds are used fairly frequently, but only for minor sound effects, mild ambience (the crowds cheering at the basketball games) and reinformcement of the music. Still, while they're many scenes that surprised me, much of the rest of the movie's sound folds up to the front.

EXTRAS: Included is a commentary from actors Jonathan Lipnicki and Lil' Bow Wow, along with director John Schultz; deleted scenes w/commentary & "Off the Hook & On the Set" featurette. Additional features are included on the full-screen side of the disc, including a "making of" featurette, three deleted scenes, "Basketball" music video, a music promo and the trailer for "Daredevil".

Final Thoughts: "Like Mike" is predictable and could have been a bit more fast-paced, but has some funny moments and some memorable scenes. Fox's DVD edition provides solid audio/video quality and fine supplements. Although there are better family releases coming out around the holidays, kids still might have some fun with this one as a rental.

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