Monica (Lathan) has an all-consuming love for basketball ... and a serious talent for playing the game, much to the chagrin of her happy homemaker mother (Woodard). The cocky boy next door, Quincy (Epps), wants to follow his dad (Haysbert) as a pro player. He doesn't quite know what to make of Monica, but even as they battle for court supremacy we know they're deeply in love, really. The film follows these two characters from age 11 (played by Pratt and Chatham) through high school to college and beyond, conveniently divided into four quarters, as they develop their game both on the court and off it.
The spanning-the-years storyline works surprisingly well, yet as a director, Prince-Blythewood doesn't always do her screenplay justice. She never includes any period detail to help us mark the passage of time, and there are about three musical montage sequences too many, which makes the film feel long and overly schmaltzy. But the script is full of nice touches, approaching its characters in a refreshingly realistic way, warts and all. In this sense, Lathan and Epps are terrific, creating robust characters that hold our interest as the film flags.
[12--themes, language] 22.Jun.00
US release 21.Apr.00; UK release 7.Jul.00
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