April 20, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Game of Their Lives

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
runtime
101 minutes
Limited Release Date
04/22/05
performer
Wes Bentley, Gerard Butler, Louis Mandylor, Zachery Bryan
director
David Anspaugh
author
Angelo Pizzo
genre
Drama, Sports
We gave it a B-

In the unabashed little fan-oriented film The Game of Their Lives (based, as such movies always are, on a real story), a motley group of athletes find common cause and team pride in representing the U.S. of A. against opponents from the smug country that dominates their sport. And against all odds, on unfamiliar soil, the Americans…well, guess. Only this time the sport is soccer, the setting is an immigrant enclave of St. Louis in 1950, the supercilious enemy is England (embodied by Gavin Rossdale), and many of the well-mannered young men are recent GIs who would never use the word ”miracle” loosely. (The ridiculously good-looking cast of footballers includes Wes Bentley, Gerard Butler, and Richard Jenik.)

Coaching from the same playbook with which they made Rudy and Hoosiers, director David Anspaugh and screenwriter Angelo Pizzo create a reverent fable of such soothing proportions that it would be churlish to ask if America ever really looked like that — or sounded like that, either: As an old sportswriter, Patrick Stewart tries out an accent left over by the Pepperidge Farm cookie man.

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