Sunset Park

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2

Phyllis Sakora (Rhea Perlman of Cheers fame), a high school physical education teacher, dreams of leaving Brooklyn and opening a restaurant in St. Croix. But her latest live-in boyfriend moved out with most of her stuff. When a boys basketball coach position opens at Sunset Park, an inner city high school, she takes the job for the higher pay. But Phyllis doesn't realize that the team is expected to play games and win. The disillusioned, disinterested players suffered 15 straight losses last season. Phyllis tells the team she'll teach them about winning if they teach her about basketball. As she shows her support and caring about the individual members, the team quickly turns around, winning games with their own style of playing. But can they keep it together for the city championship? Perlman brings her typical feistiness to the role, but the formula storyline is getting tiresome. There's too much coach and not enough team to make you care about them.

Sunset Park's ethnically diverse hallways are not reflected in the basketball team of only black players. Although part of the film's humor comes from a short, white woman coaching black men on a basketball team, the only racial slurs are those among the players. Unfortunately, the stereotype of young black teens includes conversations filled with slang references to sex and crude language. Sadly, the coach uses frequent profanity both to her team and other teachers. A team member smoking marijuana is referred to comically. Ambivalent at first, the coach takes a stand against drugs because it threatens the team's performance. Violence is limited to a bleeding cut on one boy's head, some shoving, and a brief fistfight in the locker room. Sexual intercourse and nudity are non-existent, despite the frequent references. To her credit, the coach stresses a winning attitude, honesty and teamwork in building the team. This R movie could have been a PG, but profanity and other offensive language make it foul out.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
TriStar Pictures, 9000 Sunset Blvd., #711, Los Angeles, CA 90069

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 (43) times - Mild 17 plus those used in rap songs, Moderate 26

Obscene Language: Many (12) times - F-word 2, s-word 6, other 3, finger gesture 1

Profanity: Many (18) times - Regular 17 (GD 14, J, G), Exclamatory 1

Violence: Few times - Moderate (fist fight, shoving, bloody cut)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Numerous slang references to sex, sensual kissing once, sensual movement by cheerleaders

Drugs: Alcohol drinking, marijuana and cigarette smoking

Other: Racial slurs, irreverent reference to crucifixion; coach stresses winning attitude, self-respect, and teamwork

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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