American Underdog is a based on a true story, and perhaps that is its downfall. There are too many flaws with this inspirational film to make it worth watching.
American Underdog is the true story of Kurt Warner and while I love a good football movie as much as the next person, this one just falls flat for far too many reasons to make it even worth checking out. Zachary Levi and Anna Paquin are by far the best part, and even though they have good on screen chemistry, there are a few things about their roles that took me completely out of the movie.
This movie follows the story of Kurt Warner (Zachary Levi), a young man who wanted nothing more than to become an MVP Quarterback — and that is exactly what he did. American Underdog showcases his journey from stocking shelves at a supermarket to becoming an American Football star. Along the way he meets Brenda (Anna Paquin), a divorced mother of two, and his newfound family, along with his faith, help to inspire him and bring him all the way.
The first issue here is Zachary Levi’s age. There is no world that he passes as a college student at the start of the movie. This immediately makes things not believable as he clearly looks his age — late 30s to early 40s. He is a phenomenal actor, but he can’t make himself look 15 years younger than he is.
The other major issue is going to sound petty, but it is something that distracted me right from the start and that is Anna Paquin’s wig. Yes, this is supposed to look like Brenda’s actual hair, but it is so very obvious that it is a wig. She is a great actress and is wonderful in this role, but I found myself staring at her hair line every time she was on screen. And that’s not good.
As someone who is not a person of faith myself, I felt that this movie had far too much religion in it. I am a massive football fan and I wish that the movie focused more on that side of things, or perhaps meshed the two together well.
At times American Underdog feels like two completely different movies. I understand why it is important to include his faith, as it is a major part of his life, and what he accredits his success to, however the religious movie and the football movie never intertwine in a way that feels natural.
With a run time of nearly two hours there was more than enough time to weave the two stories together in a way that works. Although it is inspirational overall, and people of faith are sure to really connect with it, there was just something missing to make this what I would consider a good movie.
It is always hard to bring a true story to the screen, especially when so many people know the ins and outs of it all. Because of the nature of this, it is often a very predictable film, so it needs something more. Unfortunately, American Underdog doesn’t succeed.
Levi and Paquin are great, and have decent chemistry, but his age and her wig are far too distracting throughout the entire film. Throw in the fact that this feels like two completely different movies, and American Underdog is a struggle to get through.
Rating: 2 out of 5
About American Underdog
American Underdog tells the inspirational true story of Kurt Warner (Zachary Levi), who went from a stocking shelves at a grocery store to a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Hall of Fame quarterback.
The film centers on Warner’s unique story and years of challenges and setbacks that could have derailed his aspirations to become an NFL player – but just when his dreams seemed all but out of reach, it is only with the support of his wife, Brenda (Anna Paquin) and the encouragement of his family, coaches, and teammates that Warner perseveres and finds the strength to show the world the champion that he already is.
American Underdog is an uplifting story that demonstrates that anything is possible when you have faith, family and determination.
You Might Also Enjoy...
Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.