18 years ago, Disney scored an unlikely hit (and a money-making sports franchise) with the inspirational hockey story The Mighty Ducks. Former Brat Packer Emilio Estevez starred as a boozy lawyer who is forced to do community service and winds up coaching a pee wee hockey team to victory. In Coach, former Disney heartthrob Hugh Dancy (Ella Enchanted) stars as a spoiled trust fund 30-something with no direction. When his girlfriend breaks up with him, he starts coaching a pee-wee soccer team to show her that he has potential. But what could have been a cute family film turns out to be a pretentious mess, just like Dancy’s character.
After being dumped by his girlfriend, Nick (Dancy) wallows in self-pity with the help of his friends whose names aren’t important. They just show up randomly to cheer him on and make inappropriate comments. When Nick begins coaching the soccer team, he obviously favors one kid named Hector. He favors him so much that he uses some of his trust fund money to buy him fancy soccer shoes, then makes him the captain of the team. When Hector says buying him the shoes is unfair to the rest of the team, Nick buys them for the other players. When Hector says his father wouldn’t approve of him playing soccer, Nick bribes him with money and asks him to lie to his dad. Nick also spends most of the team practices checking his phone for calls from his ex.
In case you didn’t pick up on it, Nick isn’t a nice guy.
When Hector is hurt playing soccer, Nick takes him to the hospital and chats up a cute doctor named Gabrielle, and somehow woos her despite him being a total deadbeat. She breaks up with him because she gets sick of his repellent behavior, and at the end of the film (spoiler alert!) we don’t even get to see if they end up together.
This story could have used a severe re-write and been called The Mighty Ducks: The Soccer Edition. Maybe audiences wouldn’t even have cared about the colon-ized title, like the new Karate Kid remake being about kung fu instead.
The sole highlight of Coach is the brief appearance by Dexter’s David Zayas as Hector’s dad. He’s onscreen for maybe 3 minutes total and owns the movie. He oozes charisma and seems to be the only adult in the film who wants to act like an adult.
Coach doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be. It has some pretty raunchy comments courtesy of Nick’s friends, it has some elements of a romantic comedy but it’s unromantic, and it could possibly have some elements of a family comedy if it were a movie for kids. The Mighty Ducks it is not. When the ambiguous ending is shown, we don’t even really care if they end up together or not. We’re just glad it’s over.
Coach is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, although the audio and visual quality is nothing special.
There are no extras, just Trailers: From Paris With Love, The Good Guy, Ball & Chain, Man About Town, Taking Chances, Still Waiting…
Releasing on DVD just in time to capitalize on the World Cup, Coach is not the inspirational soccer film you’re looking for. Try Bend it Like Beckham or even Kicking and Screaming instead. After Hugh Dancy’s nuanced turn in last year’s Adam, I thought he’d be a great actor to watch. If this is what his projects are going to be like, then never mind.
Lionsgate presents Coach. Directed by: Will Frears. Starring: Hugh Dancy, Liane Balaban, Mamie Gummer, David Zayas. Written by: Will Frears, Jason Pugatch. Running time: 87 minutes. Rating: RPG-13. Released on DVD: June 8, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.
Jenny is proud to be the First Lady of Inside Pulse Movies. She gives female and mommy perspective, and has two kids who help with rating family movies. (If they don't like 'em, what's the point?) She prefers horror movies to chick flicks, and she can easily hang with the guys as long as there are several frou-frou girlie drinks to be had.
Join our newsletter
never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!