Turning a bunch of commercials into a feature film is a sketchy enough proposition, but what if you remove the only thing that made those commercials entertaining? In a series of Pepsi Max spots, NBA star Kyrie Irving dons old-age makeup and proceeds to school a bunch of schoolyard basketball players in a Borat-style faux-documentary gag. Here, Irving’s septuagenarian alter-ego Uncle Drew is a Harlem street-ball legend, convinced to round up his old team by a sadsack coach (Get Out comic-relief standout Lil Rel Howery) seeking redemption. Drew’s teammates are similarly played by hoops stars—Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, etc.—under piles of prosthetics and crazy hair, and the “getting the band back together” vibe is amusing for a while. But amiability only goes so far, as director Charles Stone III leans into the basketball sequences that lack much point beyond predictable underdog-sports-movie heroics when everyone on-screen knows the oldsters are actually great players. Also, just a hint: When you’ve got Tiffany Haddish in your movie, maybe don’t wait until the closing credits to give her anything to do, and act like we’d rather watch Reggie Miller try to be funny.
Director: Charles Stone III
Producer: Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, Louis Arbetter, Aziel Rivers, Marc Gilbar, Colin Smeeton, Perry Rogers, Jeff Wechsler, Erik Feig, John Fischer, Michael Flynn and Mike Upton
Cast: Kyrie Irving, Lil Rel Howery, Nick Kroll, Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, Lisa Leslie, Erica Ash, Tiffany Haddish, JB Smoove and Mike Epps