Love & Basketball

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Year Released: 2000
Rating: 3.0

A nice little film: it comes so very close to failing and digging its own grave but somehow finds a way to bring itself back up and keep you watching. It's essentially a love story between two basketball players (the irritating Omar Epps and the sweeping Sanaa Lathan) and breaks up their love story into four quarters (like a basketball game), from youth to adolescence, college to adulthood. Some ugly plot twists/contrivances surface every once and a while - most notably, I never bought the way the two break up in the "third quarter" where Epps turns heedlessly malicious, or found interest in Lathan's (expected) difficulties gaining acceptance with her college teammates and coach, or managed to fully accept the expected but silly ending - but for every ho-hum aspect, there's something charming and light to keep interest going. It's a bit long, but I found enough honesty in the portrayals to make it worthwhile.