We’ve seen the scenario a hundred times but there’s no denying that emotional swell when the underdog gets the upper hand. Those of us old enough to remember the beginning of the struggle for equality of the sexes will appreciate the story of the basketball team from Immaculata College, then a tiny women’s school in Pennsylvania, that fields a ragtag collection of players who manage to win, against all odds, the first Woman’s National Collegiate Basketball Championship in 1972. Carla Gugino plays coach Cathy Rush with the requisite spunk and passion and dead-on sartorial accuracy ( 70’s plaids and palazzo pants, what were they thinking?). Rush is portrayed as a talented motivator, struggling against the expectation of her NBA Referee husband (David Boreanaz) that domestic bliss should be enough for any woman. He eventually gets on board as does Ellyn Burstyn, playing the dour mother superior, fighting to save the school from closing. The story is full of “miracle win” cliche´s but doggone it ( I’m thinking in Jimmy Stewart’s voice here), I’m a sucker for it every time. There are subplots, like the spunky novitiate, Sister Sunday (Mary Shelton), unsure of taking her final vows she focuses her energy on helping coach Rush; also, the stories of the girls themselves, overcoming obstacles ranging from poverty, failed romance, and hideous uniforms. Director/writer Tim Chambers accomplishes the desired effect with an obviously limited budget and cast of fine actors. The girls eventually play with enough believable skill to make the fairytale ending entirely plausible. The cynics will groan, but this G Rated film accomplishes it’s goal, true family entertainment. By the way, stick around for the credits to see the amazing future accomplishments of this group of women.
My GPA 3.0