It's Hoosiers in high heels with a splash of holy water.
Set in 1971, and "INSPIRED" by a true story (which means you are about
to see a bunch of phony baloney with the real names used where
appropriate and legally permitted, but I digress), Carla Gugino stars
as Cathy Rush - a former star college basketball player recently
married and looking for a job where she can continue to pursue her
passion for the sport.
She ends up at Immaculata College, an all-female Catholic college just
outside of Philly, where she has been hired to coach the ladies
basketball team by Mother St. John (Ellen Burstyn trying to get in good
with God before judgment day?). The school is going broke, they have
uniforms straight out of the 1920's, their court is used to store gifts
given to the nuns, and no one sees the team as anything other than a
pleasant activity for the young ladies, but Rush is committed to making
tiny Immaculata into a championship team.
Can Cathy motivate the team, the college, Mother St. John and her own
husband Ed Rush (David Boreanaz) to see the potential for greatness and
a chance to win the championship?
If I saw this movie on The Hallmark Channel or the Oprah Winfrey
Network, it would be a pleasant, inoffensive diversion for a couple
hours. As a major motion picture, it's weak and unremarkable, even if
enjoyable at times.
With the "Inspired by a True Story" disclaimer at the beginning of the
movie, it becomes very easy for the audience to pick out what was
created to make the story supposedly more compelling, which takes away
from the drama of the moment, and might even make the audience doubt
some of the authentic twists and turns that we should appreciate more.
Think of The Mighty Macs as the result of some sort of
cliché writing machine. Oh, it is all there from the ladies
pulling together as a team to overcome immense obstacles and odds to
Rush being portrayed as Bobby Knight in pumps to the moments of doubt
and THE BIG GAMES!
Writer/director Tim Chambers has great intentions, and it's hard not to
get sucked into the underdog story, but there is too much reliance on
the tried and true storylines and characters, instead of giving us a
more informed look at a bunch of people who have truly shaped and
effected women's college basketball.
Without Gugino, much of the super sappy dialogue and attempts to make
Rush into a quirky, against the grain, unconventional, modern lady in
the land of old fashioned values and lifestyles would seem silly, and
it does become silly at times, but she is a pro who tries, and,
sometimes, succeeds at wining us over.
The Mighty Macs is rated G.