One of my favorite genres of movies are the classroom interest stories in which a caring teacher takes the reins and makes a difference, i.e. “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” “Dangerous Minds,” “Stand and Deliver” and the more recent “Freedom Writers.” “The Winning Season” is not exactly that type of movie, rather it is a comedy in the essence of “Mr. Woodcock” — a comedic version of a student-teacher interest story. The trailer, to me, appears mediocre at best. Of course, I love being proven wrong, but there’s not much from the tidbits I’ve gathered that pull me in a more positive direction.
The cast of “The Winning Season” is not one to be scoffed at, though. I thoroughly enjoy Sam Rockwell, whom I think is totally underrated and overlooked, and Emma Roberts. That being said, there’s not a whole lot of other “known” names that catch my attention. The fact of the matter is, I think most people know Rob Corddry once they see him, maybe not by name however, which is a travesty in its own right because he really is a comic mastermind, as displayed in films such as “The Heartbreak Kid,” “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” and “Hot Tub Time Machine.” Another name that people might not know just yet is Rooney Mara, who will be appearing in “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” and the much anticipated, especially by me, “The Social Network.” I think this is an actor who we will all know by name in the not so distant future, but sadly for “The Winning Season,” the future can’t help this particular roster.
Plot-wise, the film does not bring anything new to the table. A has-been, divorced, dead beat dad (Rockwell), who is estranged from his teenage daughter, lands a job from his high school principal friend (Corddry) as the coach to the girls’ varsity basketball team. As any audience would expect, the team is not exactly made up of all stars, and slowly but surely improves with the help of the new coach. Considering the fact that he is coaching teenage girls, it comes as no surprise that the girls give Bill insight into the relationship with his daughter. Outside the team, however, the girls must all face real world obstacles, and grow up in their own rights.
I do not have high hopes for this film, it’s only saving grace from my POV is Sam Rockwell. He really is a brilliant actor and I think has yet to get any of the credit that he deserves. I always pull for underdog films, but with a so-so plot line, I honestly can’t see a comedic hallmark. Plus, audiences nowadays have become adept to much raunchier comedies, i.e. “Get Him To The Greek,” “Superbad,” “Knocked Up” … shock value is hard to come by now and a PG-13 rating (for some thematic elements, language including some sexual references, alcohol abuse and smoking) isn’t gonna cut it in the teenage and young adult market. I hope I’m wrong, and I hope films such as “The Winning Season” can bring a new wit that doesn’t necessarily need to be in-your-face taboo to get a laugh. I don’t write the rules, I just pay attention. It’s a sad prediction, but I don’t think “The Winning Season” will go on much of a winning streak.
No release date has been set as of yet for “The Winning Season.”
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