‘White Men Can’t Jump’ Is an Embarrassing Airball of a Remake

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Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/Hulu

In the ’80s and ’90s, no one made sports movies as lively, authentic and full of likably colorful characters as Ron Shelton, be it the rambunctiously romantic Bull Durham, the caustic Cobb, the charming Tin Cup, or the punchy Play It to the Bone. In that list one must also include White Men Can’t Jump, a buddy-comedy pairing of Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes that amusingly navigated the ins and outs of L.A. street basketball culture and, with it, the fever-pitch racial dynamics of early 1992.

A film about hustling, manhood, teamwork, and the way in which two perfectly matched athletes can make sweet music on the court, it was a critical and commercial success built on the chemistry of its leads and the prickly, sexy, and charged prose of its writer/director.

White Men Can’t Jump was a natural outgrowth of its particular era and its post-Rodney King, pre-L.A. riots tensions. Nonetheless, given that we’re in a current age of endless streaming reboots and expansions of notable hits, it’s now been reimagined by black-ish’s Kenya Barris and director Calmatic (fresh off his House Party do-over) with the same title, two infinitely less magnetic actors, a schmaltzier and more unbalanced story, and a few contemporary references that are meant to pass as updates. The world didn’t need a new White Men Can’t Jump, much less one without the direct involvement of creator Shelton, and the end result is a movie (debuting on Hulu on May 19) that even fewer will want to endure.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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