BOSTON (CBS) – Wondering whether to see “Uncle Drew”?
The sports comedy featuring Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving in the titular role and other basketball greats like Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller and Lisa Leslie opens Friday. The fact that it originated as a Pepsi commercial might be a turn-off for some potential moviegoers, but with a Rotten Tomatoes score of more than 50 percent as of Thursday afternoon, some reviewers believe it’s at least good for a few laughs.
Here’s a roundup of what the critics are saying about the movie and Irving’s performance.
The Boston Globe: “’Uncle Drew’ is amiable enough, even crowd-pleasing, but pretty ramshackle. It’s like a Tyler Perry movie with jump shots. . . With all due respect to the actors and actor-hoopsters, it’s the makeup people who give the film’s best performance.”
Entertainment Weekly: “Irving isn’t much of an actor, despite playing the character previously in a string of Pepsi commercials. But with a premise this broad, quite frankly he doesn’t really have to be.”
Variety: “This affectionate basketball-themed comedy from sports-savvy director Charles Stone III (“Mr. 3000”) comes across as an effective feature-length ad for the game itself.”
The New York Times: “It’s not every day that you can say, ‘Shaquille O’Neal was the best actor in that movie.’ And yet that may well be true in the case of ‘Uncle Drew.’”
The Hollywood Reporter: “Moviegoers who don’t get a kick out of spotting athletes on the screen may be less than enthralled by the otherwise formulaic comeback flick, but sports-loving viewers will likely be more enthusiastic.”
The Chicago Tribune: “Somehow, as corny and predictable as it is, and even with a tsunami of product placement, it works. It’s pretty funny; it’s pretty charming; it’s good-natured.”
The Root: “Many people will probably head to Uncle Drew for Kyrie Irving and the popularity of the web series, but the older aforementioned former players will be the ones who keep your attention.”
IndieWire: “’Uncle Drew’ is such a well-acted, warm-hearted basketball comedy that you’re liable to forget about its corporate origins. . . Irving’s performance alone endows the project with more integrity than you could find in all of ‘The Emoji Movie.’”
A.V. Club: “Uncle Drew. . . builds an entire feature around a one-joke comic creation. He wears out his welcome, and so does the film.”
Watch the “Uncle Drew” trailer here.