The Longshots

Rated 3.0

An unemployed idler (Ice Cube) reluctantly agrees to baby-sit his teenage niece (Keke Palmer) after school; after an awkward beginning, the two discover that they share a talent for football. Nick Santora’s script heavily fictionalizes the real life of Jasmine Plummer, first girl player in the Pop Warner Football League’s national tournament, into yet another “inspired by a true story” follow-your-dream sports movie. What raises it above that tiresome, overworked genre (admittedly, the bar isn’t all that high) is the treatment, especially the sensitive, well-attuned performances of Ice Cube and Palmer; the arc of their characters from sullen friction to warm affection carries and energizes the movie. Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst directs with a perceptive eye for small-town working-class life.