Artist: Movie ReviewTitle: Pride (Film)Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Omar Mazariego
Whoever tried to tell Jim Ellis that black people don’t swim must’ve not known that their words were falling on deaf ears. Pride (Lions Gate Films) is the true story of former competitive swimmer Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard) who takes on a city job clearing out what remains of a state-funded rec center. After disposing of the basketball hoop that the neighborhood kids so faithfully worshipped (think Three 6 Mafia and their Oscar Award), the youngsters find their way to the pool.
After one of the young guns challenges ol’ Ellis to a race (guess who won that one), the kids are intrigued by the god’s skills and anoint him as their coach. Although they have a new sport to keep them occupied, the kids are still faced with drug dealers, school problems and family issues.
The movie was well written and directed, but at times seemed to drag like Greenwich Village on October 31. It was a slow-paced flick that resembles Coach Carter without the Samuel “I’ma Kick Ya Ass” L. Jackson attitude. But true-life stories can’t always be as entertaining as Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
But what will win the crowd over is the chemistry between Bernie Mac’s characterthe school keeper who is territorial when Ellis begins his job, but later becomes a supporterand Terrence Howard. They had the kind of chemistry that you couldn’t learn watching Beakman’s World. While they seemed to battle for the viewer’s attention, their respective styles definitely complimented each other. And talk about Oscar worthy performances, Tom Arnold could show 90’s Atlanta Braves Pitcher John Rocker a thing or two about acting like a bigot.
When it’s all said and done Pride will leave some viewers satisfied having gotten what they wanted from the feel good movie they knew they paid their money to see and most others feeling like something was missing. Namely the $10 that went to the ticket booth and the $20 spent at the concession stand. Whether it was more character development on the kids that the movie was partially based on or more screen time for Regine Nehy in her bathing suit, it’s going to be up to the audience if Pride sinks or swims.