He Got Game

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3

This is a powerful drama about the reconciliation of a father-son relationship torn apart by a family tragedy. Jake Shuttleworth (Denzel Washington) has been in prison for six years when the warden offers him an amazing opportunity. Jake has a son, Jesus (Ray Allen), who is a star basketball player at Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island. The New York governor is such an avid basketball fan he wants Jesus to attend the state university. Jake's sentence will be reduced considerably if he can talk his son into accepting a basketball scholarship at the governor's alma mater. But Jesus hates his father and blames him for the death of his mother. Nevertheless, Jake accepts the challenge. The electronically monitored prisoner is deposited in a sleazy neighborhood hotel with one week to accomplish his task. Unbelievable pressure on Jesus builds as bribes tempt him, the coach threatens blackmail and his uncle anticipates sharing in many luxuries promised his nephew. Is blood thicker than water when Jake has nothing to offer his son except a chance to become family again?

HE GOT GAME is a riveting movie for mature audiences. It is a tragedy such a powerful story is polluted with graphic sex, nudity and filthy language. Jesus is offered mega doses of sex, money and adoration, yet his parents have instilled in him a stronge sense of honor and integrity. Jake is portrayed as a strong but flawed father figure who relentlessly coached Jesus to be a basketball player from early childhood. It was Jake's intent to give Jesus a ticket out of the projects and to become someone. Jesus hates his name because his classmates and the media call him their "savior" and carry placards that read "Jesus Saves!" Many unsavory characters include Jake's cheating girlfriend who uses sex to influence him. They have graphic sex on a carnival ride without nudity, and he is lured into group sex with two bare-breasted women on the university campus. Jake too becomes sexually involved with an abused prostitute he befriends at the hotel. Flashes of graphic sex scenes serve no purpose except to titillate. Sadly, the general public often embraces films like HE GOT GAME filled with obscenities, sex and nudity, which perpetuates more of them.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution (Touchstone Pictures), 3900 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91521

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (35) times - Mild 10, Moderate 25

Obscene Language: Continuous - (f-word 52, s-word 28, other 13)

Profanity: Several (6) times - Regular 3 (G-d), Exclamatory 3

Violence: Few times - Moderate (prostitute roughed up, woman killed by hit on head)

Sex: Several times (graphic between unmarried couples; man with prostitute (rear female nudity), group sex with full breast nudity; flashes of sex scenes)

Nudity: Several times - (female breast nudity, female rear nudity)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times - (crude references to male and female genitals; fondling of women's breasts; passionate kissing)

Drugs: Few times - (man drinks whiskey out of bottle)

Other: None

Running Time: 136 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.