Review: Crossover

-A +A

(Ouch! Our reviewer's unimpressed).

Tech (Anthony Mackie), and Noah (Wesley Jonathan) are lifelong friends who share a love of basketball and see the sport as their ticket out of a nowhere land located along Detroit’s 7 Mile Road. But their fortunes diverged since the day that Tech took the rap on an assault charge to help keep his homeboy out of jail.

For after doing time for a crime he didn’t commit, the ex-con returned to the ‘hood a high school dropout without much of a future. Meanwhile, Noah, not only kept his nose clean and continued to play ball, but he’s even excelled to the point where he’s just landed a full scholarship to UCLA which he plans to parlay into an MD instead of a career in the NBA.

This confounds Tech who is aching to make it to the pros, and has to settle with playing in street ball in games fixed by Vaughn (Wayne Brady), a gaudy ghetto gangsta’ who’s got a great-looking girl (Shelli Boone), a pimped-out ride, and a big wad of bills. Vaughn doesn’t buy the idea that Noah really wants to be a doctor since, as he puts it, the NBA “is every black boy’s dream.�

Inexplicably, Noah chooses to participate in a rigged exhibition as a member of Enemies of the State versus cross-town rivals called Platinum led by a trash-talking loudmouth known as Jewelz (Philip Champion). Not only must Noah and Tech’s team lose, but they must suffer that humiliation in front of local fans that have no idea that the outcome was predetermined. Worse, Noah could lose his college scholarship and his eligibility as an amateur should word leak out of his already accepting cash to play for pay.

The tensions surrounding this ill-advised choice is what drives Crossover, a muddled melodrama set mostly in the Motor City. The picture was written and directed by Preston Whitmore, the brains behind such other mediocre offerings as Fled and Civil Brand. The problems with this production are too plentiful to recount, though it’s safe to say that the film’s only saving grace is the eye candy which mercifully arrives courtesy of Mary J. Blige look-a-like Alecia Jai Fears and America’s Next Top Model-winner Eva Pigford as the lead characters’ love interests. Unfortunately, even these cuties’ considerable charms and screen chemistry end up squandered in the service of this constantly-confusing and often-illogical waste of celluloid.

Fair (1 star). Rated PG-13 for sex, expletives, and ethnic slurs. Running time: 95 minutes. Studio: Sony Pictures

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