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Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Retro Review: Celtic Pride (1996)

Celtic Pride
Cast: Daniel Stern, Dan Ackroyd, Damon Wayans, Gail O' Grady, Christopher McDonald 
Genre: Comedy
U.S Box Office Gross: over $9 million

Plot: Two overly loyal Celtic fans kidnap their opponent's star player in order to guarantee their team the championship

'Sports Caper That Bounces Its Way Off The Court'

One of Judd Apatow's earlier efforts and alongside Fun With Dick & Jane, Celtic Pride is another earlier offering of his, before he achieved (brief) success with Juno and Knocked Up.

Two die-hard Boston Celtics fans attend the NBA championship winning game against Utah Jazz, with Mike having one thing on his mind: the Celtics becoming victorious. He and Jimmy get one of the Jazz's players drunk and the next day, they kidnap their star player, Lewis Scott.

Christopher McDonald (Flubber) plays the Utah Jazz's coach and there is also a cameo by former player, Larry Bird.

The two leads Daniel Stern and Dan Ackroyd were better off in Home Alone and Ghostbusters, but their characters in this movie are both one-dimensional, utterly charmless and unlikeable and they were completely miscast. Mike and Jimmy show virtually little in the way of character development and not once throughout did I get the impression these were people I wanted to root for. Along with Apatow's unfunny writing, director Tom DeCherchio seems lost as to where to take this movie and by not infusing it with slapstick scenes and funny one-liners, Celtic Pride, much like a losing NBA team, keeps on aiming but never finding the ball in the net.

When it goes down the kidnapping route and aims to go for the cynical approach, the film takes a U-turn for the worse and along with that, the laughs dry up. Clearly intended as a spoof film on sports, athletes and fandom, it fails to emphasise and parody on either of these aspects. But besides the humour, there was nothing else left to watch for; with the basketball action scenes being pitifully few.

A movie about fandom and in the context of sports that takes a look at the lengths devoted fans go to show their loyalty to their team, it lacks any sharpness, genuine farce and a movie that deserves a better casting than what has been served up. It's a coincidence as a comedy film Celtic Pride has little of that thing - pride.

Final Verdict:

As '90s comedies go, this is one of the worst I've watched and one of the least amusing and as basketball movies go, this wasn't as entertaining and enjoyable as I found it to be.

With better leads compared to Daniel Stern, Dan Ackroyd and Damon Wayans and a funnier, wittier and far more charming script, Celtic Pride would flourish more. An interesting premise goes nowhere and with a darkish, unbalanced tone, in addition to being devoid of laughs, this is all hot air and very little substance.

Apatow may be an accomplished director in some ways, but here, it just seems he hasn't had a clue how to go about the idea and premise, with an approach that is just not suitably fitting for a mainstream-based comedy.


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