Rated 3.0

Writer Brad Gann and director Ericson Core recount the unlikely story of Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg), a substitute teacher and part-time bartender who, at the age of 30 in 1976, got a chance to play with the Philadelphia Eagles under coach Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear). For once, here’s an “inspired by true events” movie that actually has the ring of truth. Not that it’s really true: All the standard sports-underdog clichés are in place, and Gann’s script is heavily fictionalized (Papale’s college education and two seasons with the short-lived World Football League aren’t mentioned). But Ericson (who doubles as cinematographer) has a good feel for urban grit and blue-collar dreams, and he gets good, unpretentious performances—especially from Wahlberg, who provides the movie’s solid, dependable center.