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Like Mike 2: Streetball

Fox // PG // June 6, 2006
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by David Cornelius | posted June 3, 2006 | E-mail the Author
If you've been aching to see the kid from "Bad Santa" in cornrows, then a) there is something seriously wrong with you; and b) "Like Mike 2: Streetball" is the direct-to-video sequel for you.

Yes, there is a point in this film where Brett Kelly, who is very, very pasty in his whiteness, shows up with his curly golden locks pulled back in some sort of braid-unit-thing, and I'm really hoping that this kid, who has shown so much promise elsewhere and who will hopefully go on to greater things, will look back on this movie and laugh like crazy at the stupid things he had to do to build a career.

But I'm getting away from the point, which is this: "Like Mike" was a terrible, contemptible kiddie movie that couldn't even provide a decent moral (in case you've forgotten, the lesson learned in that flick was something along the lines of "you'll never amount to anything unless you have magic shoes"), but it was just enough of a hit for Fox to churn out a barely-related sequel for the video market in hopes of grabbing a few bucks from unsuspecting parents of kids who like basketball in their movies.

Once again we have some kid finding a pair of sneakers with the mysterious initials "M.J." inscribed within. They obviously contain the magic basketball powers of Michael Jordan, because they're not Milla Jovovich's size. Anyway, this time the kid is Jerome (Jascha Washington), who, while watching a streetball tournament, winds up making an impossible basket, again and again, much to the dismay of the professional team that tours the nation challenging locals to streetball tournaments. Naturally, the wise coach decides to put the kid on his team, and he becomes a superstar - because apparently teams that travel the nation playing in streetball tournaments are top news.

As you'd expect, Jerome winds up letting the fame go to his head, etc., etc. In the "Like Mike" tradition, messages are jumbled and poorly thought out; here, you only learn that winning isn't everything after you've lost a big game. There's a subplot involving one of Jerome's teammates whose father disapproves of him… until he starts doing well in the game, which tells kids, I suppose, that your parents will never love you unless you're winning. There's an entire bit at the end about how having fun is more important than winning, and yet they follow this nugget of wisdom up with a bit of moviemaking that overemphasizes the joy of victory.

When not giving us troubling morals, the movie is busy giving us cheap ones. The filmmakers aren't even concerned about subtlety, stopping the script to recite lines like "It's not who's bigger on the outside that matters, it's who's bigger on the inside." (In case we don't get it, the actor taps his heart while saying all of this.) There's also an entire plotline tossed in about how the touring team hasn't learned how to rely on teamwork, and if you're thinking that they'll whip into shape for the big finish, you'd only be half right: they whip into shape, but then they're strangely written out of the entire third act. Where did they go? How could their entire storyline be dropped? How could the filmmakers do such a thing?

Oh, that's right - this is a hastily crafted DTV sequel. Complaining about sloppy writing in "Like Mike 2" is like complaining about a lack of horsepower in a used Geo Metro.

"Like Mike 2" isn't nearly as obnoxious as its predecessor, mainly because it's aiming much lower, with a script that feels like it was tossed together in an afternoon and a cast that was hired exclusively for their court skills and not their acting ones. (The exception is Kel Mitchell, hired because somebody thought he'd be hilarious as Jerome's greasy cousin who pushes him into crass endorsement deals. His role is so obnoxious that every time he's on screen, you begin to long for the scenes that feature basketball stars blandly reciting their poorly memorized lines.) It may be slightly better off than the first movie, but it's still irritating, cheap, and completely useless. I can't imagine anyone clamoring for this movie to be made, and I can't imagine anyone expecting it to be any good. Worry not: your expectations will be met.

The DVD

Video


Fox offers an anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) presentation on one side of this flipper disc and a pan-and-scan (1.33:1) crop job on the other. The transfer is suitable enough to get by, but considering this is a brand new project that's made expressly for video, you'd expect it to be a whole lot better than just "suitable enough."

Audio

The Dolby 5.1 surround soundtrack is sharp, clear, and makes good use of the surround feature. Stereo dubs in Spanish and French are available, as are optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles.

Extras

"Making Like Mike 2" is sub-average five-minute EPK filler, with the usual interviews and on-set footage that provide no real substance at all. "We're Playing Basketball" is equally fluffy, a five-minute piece in which the cast talks about how much they like playing basketball, and how hard it is to make a basketball movie, etc. Both featurettes should have been combined into one.

"Streetball" is the only useful feature of the bunch. It's another five-minute piece, but it actually has some meat to it, packed with interviews of various basketball figures talking about their histories in playing neighborhood ball and the evolution of streetball.

In a nice touch, all three featurettes are presented in anamorphic widescreen.

Six minutes of deleted scenes (presented in a flat letterbox) are also unimpressive, a series of cheap padding that deserved to be cut. (How lame does a joke have to be to get cut from "Like Mike 2?" How about a janitor who breaks out some fancy on-court moves when everyone's gone home?)

The disc starts up by playing a Fox combo trailer for their family-friendly releases "Big Momma's House 2," "Dr. Dolittle 3," and "Cheaper By the Dozen 2." The trailer seems to scream, "If you hate your children, get 'em Fox DVDs!"

Final Thoughts"Like Mike 2" is just another unnecessary direct-to-video sequel that fills up way too much space on video store shelves. In its best moments, it's mediocre; in its worst moments, it's everything rotten that direct-to-video sequels are known to be. Skip It.
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