Rated 4.0

A group of African-American chums in Mechanicsville, Ga. (a low-income suburb of Atlanta), hang around the roller disco wondering what awaits them after high school: Rashad (Tip Harris) wants to be more than a janitor but worries about his younger brother (Evan Ross), while Esquire (Jackie Long) sets his sights on an Ivy League university. Tina Gordon Chism’s script (from Antwone Fisher’s story) is a cross between American Graffiti and Boyz n the Hood, and the mix works surprisingly well. Director Chris Robinson maintains a light touch, giving the colorful, energetic skating scenes the benefit of his music-video roots, but he doesn’t neglect character, drawing sincere performances from his young cast, with strong support from veterans Keith David, Mykelti Williamson and Lonette McKee.