Rated 2.0

Hollywood has a long and unfortunate tradition of making movies about Africans and African-Americans that incongruously star white people (the Stephen Biko movie starred Kevin Kline!). With the well-intentioned but sloppily sentimental Invictus, they course-correct too far in the other direction, making a film about an all-white rugby team in which Nelson Mandela (imitated well by Morgan Freeman) is the main character. If director-producer Clint Eastwood is attempting to atone for a career that collectively amounts to one Kelly’s Heroes, two Don Siegel films, three Sergio Leone pictures, and four decades of indefensible race baiting, turning Mandela into a babbling neuter isn’t the route. Matt Damon is about a foot too short to play team captain François Pienaar, and the film doesn’t so much spring to life during the World Cup climax as put a momentary end to the feel-good speechmaking.