Blue Chips
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -2

Pete Bell (Nick Nolte), basketball coach at Western University, has been on a losing streak for three years. But he's always had a clean team with no recruiting violations. In desperation, Coach Bell starts courting three possible superstars, McRae, Roe and Bodeaux. To get the recruits, Coach Bell gives in to the alumni leader, Happy (J.T. Walsh), who offers the players just about anything they want. Butch McRae (NBA Star Afernee "Penny" Hardaway) and Ricky Roe (Matt Nover) sign up to play. Then, Bell calls on his supportive ex-wife, Jenny (Mary McDonnell), to tutor Neon Bodeaux (NBA star Shaquille O'Neall) to pass his SAT. With his own "dream team," Bell is again coaching a winning team. But can he live with himself after compromising his beliefs? Will a suspicious sportswriter (Ed O'Neill) discover his secret? Can Western U. beat Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers, another dream team of college all-stars? The basketball action is top rate and keeps the film moving. And Nolte also turns in a good performance as a coach playing against his conscience.

It's tragic that a good story like this one, which will particularly appeal to young boys, is dragged down by incessant obscene and profane language. Tragic also because it detracts from the film's commendable, positive message about honesty and integrity. Even NBA stars like Shaquille use crude language, not exactly a good role model for your kids. Coach Bell himself accounts for about half the profanities and doesn't always practice what he preaches. During his recruiting, he takes on what ever religion is expedient. For Catholic recruits, he's a good Catholic, for others he's a Baptist or Pentecostal. However, he does encourage his players to get an education. At first, he turns down incentives and compensation for the players, but later gives in to get his team on top again. At the same time, he struggles with his decision and ultimately comes out better in the end. Ricky focuses on campus girls, but the film has no nudity or sex beyond a few suggestive comments. BLUE CHIPS could have been a very positive, enjoyable film, but its overdose of foul language calls for a big penalty.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Distributor: Paramount Communications Co., 15 Columbus Circle, NY, NY 10023-7780

Crude Language: Many (46) times - Mild (18), Moderate (28)
Obscene Language: Many (21) times (s-word 16, other 5)
Profanity: Many (44) times - Regular (41), Exclamatory (3)
Violence: Few - Mild (shoves and falls typical of a sports game)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Few times (low cut dresses, swimsuits)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (crude references to sexual activity, leering look at girl's legs)
Drug Abuse: Few times (social drinking, cigarette/pipe smoking)
Other: Emphasis on education, ethical/moral living, being true to yourself
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Teens and adults

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