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Sneaker Attack

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It’s rare that a scene from a kiddie film sparks debate. But in Fox’s Like Mike, rapper Lil’ Bow Wow retrieves some Nikes dangling from a power line, earning an electric zap that magically gives him NBA-level skills. ”It’s a cute premise, except that it’s a deadly premise,” complains Jason Alderman of California utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric, which is calling for the scene’s removal — or at least a disclaimer in the opening credits. But Fox defends the film as pure make-believe. ”Like Mike is a fantasy about magic shoes,” says Fox rep Florence Grace. ”The film in no way advocates taking dangerous risks.”

The dustup recalls the controversy over 1993’s football flick The Program. After three apparent copycat deaths, Disney pulled a scene in which a college student lies down on a highway to prove his mettle. Though director David S. Ward backed the edit at the time, he’s changed his mind. ”I don’t think movies make people do crazy things,” he says, but ”there’s no scene that’s worth anyone’s life.” Still, Alderman worries that Mike’s young audience is particularly at risk, adding ”Even if it were aimed at 75-year-old Ph.D.’s, it would be a bad message.”

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