“Like Mike” is lame, free advertising

By Gus Bode

Lil’ Bow Wow, don’t quit your day job

Twentieth Century Fox Presents:A really bad movie.

“Like Mike” poses as an exciting basketball fantasy movie but folds on the silver screen as a comedy/drama that doesn’t deliver.

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Teenage rap sensation Lil’ Bow Wow plays Calvin Cambridge, from Los Angeles. Calvin has aspirations of being a great basketball player but lacks something more important than skills on the court – he doesn’t have any parents.

Calvin then stumbles on a pair of tattered Nike shoes with the initials “MJ” scribbled inside the tongue. Once he puts on the mysterious white sneakers with a cornflower blue swoosh, magic happens and it seems like the projectionist turned up the suck.

And the dialog is something to mention; a classic quote from the film?

“All orphans are special. All orphans have a destiny,” Cambridge said.

So, it must have been Lil’ Bow Wow’s destiny to leave the elusive world of rap and become a hoop-stuffing, scene stealing 13-year-old tearjerker. He should have stuck with the rap.

Rap is featured in this movie as well, in a touching scene between Cambridge and co-star, Morris Chestnut, (G.I. Jane, Boyz in the Hood) who plays Tracey Reynolds, a player on the Los Angeles Knights basketball team.

The song “Party Up” by DMX is featured in this film. Reynolds and Cambridge have a rap-off to the tune during a car ride. The strange part is that Reynolds raps better than Cambridge. It seems that with Lil’ Bow Wow’s rap background, there would be lots of rap in this film, but there is barely any at all. The soundtrack won’t be anything to race to Best Buy over.

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The cute little blond from “Jerry Maguire” is in this film. Jonathan Lipnicki plays Murph, Calvin’s best friend. The problem here is that his body is finally growing into his head. He’s still cute, but not as cute.

Cambridge’s dreams are to be adopted into a family such as the one on “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” He comes close to getting that wish when Mr. Boyd, played by Reginald VelJohnson, who incidentally played the father on “Family Matters,” comes to adopt the young basketball star. Too bad it was the wrong early ’90s sitcom.

The movie reflected the true-to-life basketball world because of all the shameless advertising. Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Coca-Cola were given screen time. The most unnerving advertisement was that for Nike. Perhaps the entire movie was just one big walking, talking billboard for the athletic apparel companies. They have dominated magazines and television; the next logical step would be the silver screen.

Also, the really creepy guy from “Charlie’s Angels” was in this movie. Crispin Glover played Stan Bittleman, the head of the orphanage. He plays the token weird guy again and does a good job of it. From the start of the film he’s odd and unnerving, even though he isn’t really doing anything mean or weird.

Anyway, the end packs a touching punch to the integrity of what an action movie should be – about really cool basketball moves and the struggle of the team – not tear-jerking drama.

Reporter Arin Thompson can be reached at [email protected]

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