Like Mike

Rated 2.0 An L.A. orphan (Li’l Bow Wow) finds a pair of basketball shoes with the initials M.J. on them; they give him amazing powers on the court, and before long he’s starring on an NBA team and rooming with his favorite teammate (Morris Chestnut). It’s not a very good movie—Michael Elliot and Jordan Moffet’s script is slapdash and clumsy; John Schultz’s direction is uninspired—but at least it makes its pitch straight at the kids without winking coyly over their heads at their parents. The best scenes are those between Chestnut and Li’l Bow Wow, played with comic rhythm and genuine warmth, and young Mr. Wow carries the film with surprising ease—especially considering what a sloppy mess most of it is. Chestnut, as usual, plays his role with generous self-confidence; why he isn’t a bigger star is a mystery.