Champions is an enjoyable film that is light on comedy but heavy on heart. Check out the details in my parents guide movie review.
Champions is releasing in theaters in the United States this Friday, March 10, 2023. The film stars Woody Harrelson as Marcus, a former minor league basketball coach, as well as Kaitlin Olson (Alex), Matt Cook (Sonny), Ernie Hudson (Coach Phil), Cheech Marin (Julio), Joshua Felder (Darius), and Madison Tevlin (Cosentino), and tells the story of a basketball team of players with intellectual disabilities. It has a lot of heart but is light on comedy despite being directed by Bobby Farrelly. Check out the details in my parents guide movie review.
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Champions Parents Guide
In Champions: Woody Harrelson stars in the hilarious and heartwarming story of a former minor-league basketball coach who, after a series of missteps, is ordered by the court to manage a team of players with intellectual disabilities. He soon realizes that despite his doubts, together, this team can go further than they ever imagined.
Champions Age Rating Parents Guide
Let’s take a look at what parents need to know before letting their young children watch Champions.
Language: Champions contains some strong language, with profanity used throughout. Stronger words include sh*t, a**h*le, a**, d*mmit, d*ck, b*st*rd, d*mn, ret*rd, balls, one use of the word f*ck and phrases like “son of a b*tch” and “hard on.”
Mature Content: Other than the bad language mentioned above, the other big indicators of adult material include crude and sexual references. Characters frequently talk about sex, having sex, having threesomes, and getting a “hard on.” There are kissing and making-out scenes, but no scenes showing sexual intercourse or acts. There are also some crude jokes and scenes revolving around potty humor. Characters are shown giving the finger, and there is a scene that shows a finger broken in half, as well as a graphic vomit scene. Discussions of smoking weed are also in the film, as is the use and discussion of the word “ret*rd.”
Champions Age Rating: Focus Features Champions has a PG-13 rating for language and for crude & sexual content and is recommended for an adult audience and teens aged 13 and older. The suggestion of parental guidance or an adult guardian is suggested for younger kids under 13 years of age.
Champions is directed by Bobby Farrelly, one half of the Farrelly brothers, who have made iconic comedies together such as Shallow Hal, There’s Something About Mary, and Dumb and Dumber. Perhaps wanting to follow in the footsteps of his Oscar-nominated brother Peter for his film Green Book, Bobby takes on the challenge of creating a film with less comedy and more heart. The result is a heartwarming, sweet film that has all the potential to give the audience both heart and comedy, instead choosing heart and cliches.
Champions is based on the Spanish-language film by Javier Fesse and David Marqués called “Champeones,” which is also a story consisting of actors with intellectual disabilities. With a subject matter that surrounds individuals with these disabilities, there is a very fine line between how far the script can take a joke without it becoming inappropriate, and with the Farrelly brothers, inappropriate tends to be where they love to take their comedy. It would seem Bobby is well aware of today’s dynamics of cancel culture and treads the line very carefully, taking the path of teaching the audience, making references about the R word being a “boo boo word,” and relying more so on inappropriate sexual references and potty humor, which doesn’t really hit with viewers. This isn’t to say there aren’t comedic moments, but many of those moments are due to the actors themselves and not the script. When it comes to the “homies with an extra chromey,” scripted jokes aren’t needed when they possess that natural charm and child-like innocence that exudes happiness in those around them.
As far as the acting in Champions, it has a solid cast and casting Woody Harrelson, Mr. White Men Can’t Jump, seems appropriate and even brings back a bit of nostalgia seeing him back on the basketball court. Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Mick) also has the comedic pedigree that serves this film well, however due to the direction the film chose, much of the comedy was left on the bench and she feels under-utilized here. The chemistry she shares with Harrelson doesn’t mesh too well either in my opinion, it’s not horrible, but it feels a bit forced. Clocking in at just over two hours, it’s a good twenty minutes longer than it needed to be, but not unbearably so, and even though I wished there were more laughs, it was enjoyable nonetheless. It’s hard to feel bad after watching a feel good movie, and Champions hits that shot with nothing but net.