Spirit of the Game | Salt Lake City Weekly

Spirit of the Game

Rated PG 95 minutes 2016

★★★★★ ★★★★★
The inspirational sports drama is such a well-worn formula that you’d think it would be possible to master the rudimentary details of the sport. That’s only the most frustrating element in this fact based story set in 1955-56, as former University of Utah basketball player and Mormon missionary DeLyle Condie (Aaron Jakubenko) leads a group of fellow elders helping the Australian national basketball team prepare for the upcoming Olympic Games in Melbourne. The low-key drama, such as it is, comes mostly from DeLyle recovering from a broken heart, trying to convince his mission president to give the program his approval, and the usual hearts-and-minds struggles of missionary life. But there’s virtually nothing here beyond the bland uplift, including Kevin Sorbo as DeLyle’s father, who exists solely to be a wisdom-dispensing machine. And then it crumbles any time actual basketball—even the very-different-from-today world of 1950s basketball comes into play, including a climactic exhibition game between the “Mormon Yankees” and the French national team that fails to set up its big moments in any coherent way. Souls may have been saved; this story can’t be.

Film Credits

Director: J.D. Scott

Producer: Craig Deeker, Phil Hunt, Janine Pearce, Compton Ross, J.D. Scott, Steve Jaggi, Spencer McLaren and Kate Whitbread

Cast: Kevin Sorbo, Aaron Jakubenko, Wade Briggs, Anna McGahan, Mark Mitchell, Cameron Caulfield, Denise Roberts, Bailey Barbour, Nicholas Denton, Neil Melville, Laurence Boxhall and Heidi Arena

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Spirit of the Game

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