Crossover is the Annapolis of basketball movies. It tries to do every cliché of the genre and fails so incompetently it’s laughable. This didn’t have to be an original story. It just had to have cool basketball scenes. They don’t even give you that.
The opening promises all the cool street ball moves you could want. There’s crazy slam dunk stunts, fancy footwork and arm waving like a martial arts dance, flashy camera tricks and sexy dancers. It is the only scene in the entire movie that has any energy. They take you into the entire world of this underground scene, and spend the rest of the world of the shopping mall.
Even though Vaughn (Wayne Brady) explains all the rules of street ball, he should have saved his breath because no one really plays serious street ball for the rest of the movie. Tech (Anthony Mackie) is doing the streetball thing while he earns his GED. Meanwhile Noah (Wesley Johnson) actually has the skills, but he’s using them to get a scholarship to medical school.
Noah plays one game for Tech’s underground team, which would cost him his college eligibility if anyone found out, but he owes Tech for something in their past. So the boys romance a couple of nail salon chickies (Alecia Fears and Eva Pigford) who they take to LA while Noah tours the campus and Tech shoots a commercial. Tech also runs the White Men Can’t Jump scam with his buddy Up (Little JJ).
That’s a whole lot of plot just to get to another basketball game. The big problem is that there’s no more big game until the end. Those pickup games where they run the scam are lower energy than the one on one game in Catwoman. Even the final game is just a montage of baskets, no grace or style. There isn’t even a consistent thread in the movie about the rival team so there’s no buildup to facing them off one last time.
Left with this preachy story about putting education first, all you can see are the ridiculous characters, dialogue and story. Basically, one thing happens that totally changes the course of everything. The movie bounces from scene to scene like some sort of round rubbery sphere.
Tech loses his innocence when he sees what a real Hollywood commercial is like. This revelation, which should still be flattering just to be included, sends him on a drinking binge.
The talking is just so stiff. They basically say “Thank you for doing that thing in the past that explains why I’m doing this thing for you right now.” Vaughn speaks only in metaphors. The girls just ask questions to restate the obvious. “Noah, is that true? What’s he talking about?” Geez, just pay attention. It’s not that confusing.
Tech can’t do math. At least that’s a twist on the illiteracy thing. And Noah’s girlfriend drops a bomb on him that’s so out of the blue yet perfectly ironic, it’s laughable.
The city of LA must hate this movie because they couldn’t use anything authentically Californian. Instead of UCLA, Noah’s trying to get into CalULA. The paper they read is the Los Angeles Tribune. They did get to use the Sony lot. They did own that. But since when can’t you say a college name or fake the LA Times?