PG-13 Dir: Charles Stone III | Lionsgate | 1h 43min
Plot: What’s it about?
If you had told me that Uncle Drew, a film based on a character from a Pepsi Max commercial would be as amusing as it is, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you had also told me it would be one of the more enjoyable films from the summer of 2018, well you get the idea. No one will mistake this film for a modern classic, but it has its heart in the right place and kept a smile on my face for nearly the entire running time. It’s also fun seeing these characters playing older versions of themselves.
Uncle Drew (Kyrie Irving) is a basketball legend. The stories are countless, with various levels of silliness to them. Drew was supposed to play at the Rucker Classic, but for unknown reasons, he and his team broke up and it never happened. Lil Rel Howery plays Dax, he was an orphan as a child who dreamed of being a basketball player. That is until he was humiliated by Mookie when he blocked a shot in his youth. Now Dax works at a Foot Locker and still has a rivalry with Mookie (Nick Kroll). Dax also coaches a basketball team in which he hopes Casper (Aaron Gordon), his star player will take his team to the Rucker. Unfortunately, Dax loses Casper to Mookie and must then recruit new players. It doesn’t help that Dax is now homeless since his girlfriend, Jess (Tiffany Haddish) kicked him out of her apartment. While he’s at a barbershop, Dax hears stories of Uncle Drew, and before long, he meets this living legend. It doesn’t take too long for Dax to convince to join the team, though Drew insists it’s his roster and his team. The film then becomes something of a road picture as Dax and Drew go gather up the other players. We get Preacher (Chris Webber), Lights (Reggie Miller) and Big Fella played by none other than Shaquille O’Neal. Lastly, we get Boots played by Nate Robinson. Over the course of the film, we get some backstory about these guys and some bad turmoil between Big Fella and Uncle Drew.
This all inevitably leads to the big game where most audiences can guess what happens, but I say so what? The film had won me over by that point and I didn’t care. I think what works here is I cared about the characters. They’re all amusing and likeable and I was more than willing to take this journey with them. There are several small chuckles sprinkled in and some big laughs as well. The film never films limited by its PG-13 rating, instead catering to it very well and showing good restraint when pushing too far might’ve had a negative effect. Filled with a willing and able cast (though most the characters can’t move very efficiently) and a big heart, Uncle Drew succeeds.
Video: How’s it look?
We’re treated to an AVC encoded 1.85:1 transfer which is virtually a slam dunk (Had to). In all seriousness, there’s very little to complain about here. The film is new and displays strong colors throughout. Details are constant and there aren’t really strong flaws to speak of. The makeup on a lot of the actors (playing much older versions of themselves) was convincing enough to these eyes. Flesh tones were accurate and smooth as well. This is a winning transfer.
Audio: How’s it sound?
We get a Dolby Atmos track and TrueHD track, both of which sounded great. Of course it’s the basketball sequences that’ll put you right in the middle of the game. There’s clarity to the vocals and enough of an engaging atmosphere to make this a winning track. Whichever track you choose, you should be pleased.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Enhanced Commentary – Director Charles Stone III sits down to discuss the film. The enhanced aspects are similar to the few we used to see a lot more of on DVD’s back in the day. He may circle a shot or rewind to give his thoughts on something. It adds to the track.
- Dear Drew Animated Short – Clocking in at just 4 minutes, this is a cartoon homage to the film. It’s decent.
- Who Is Uncle Drew? The Making of a Basketball Icon – This clocks at around 10 minutes and gives the usual behind the scenes notes.
- Youngbloods of Comedy – Here we get a 3 minute feature about the comedians featured in the film.
- Bucket Seats and Boom Boom Rooms: Uncle Drew’s Van – Another short (almost 3 minute) feature about Uncle Drew’s van, which is also his house.
- Deleted Scenes – Just under 11 minutes. Some are amusing, but the film isn’t hurt without them. One fun bit was actually shown in the trailers, so that’s always nice to see.
- Theatrical Trailer
The Bottom Line
It won’t win awards for originally (though technically is isn’t a remake), but Uncle Drew left me with a smile on my face. It was a nice change of pace from the usual summer fare and the cast give it their all. In fact, they’re a large part of what makes the film work so well. There’s a natural chemistry on display here. It has its heart in the right place and plenty of entertainment value. The film comes recommended.