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Stars: Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Viola Davis, Chris Tucker, Chris Messina, Jay Mohr, Barbara Sukowa, Marlon Wayans

Director: Ben Affleck

There can't be many more difficult tasks in cinema that making a film that centres on a shoe, so kudos to director/co-star Affleck for having a darned good try, placing his film firmly near the top of the 'honourable failure' file.

And, although product placement predictably runs amok in a film about commerce, and there are too many lethargic passages, especially at the start, the movie does have its moments, as well as fleshing out its sideline issue about middle-aged businessmen clutching at one last chance to make (and leave) a mark in their chosen field.

It's 1984 and Nike, running a distant third in America's sportswear sales, has a limited budget for the coming year, and even fewer viable ideas on how to spend it. That is, until Sonny (Damon), something of a maverick, sees the young Michael Jordan playing basketball on TV and becomes convinced that he is such a star of the future that Nike should spend the entire quarter-million dollars at its disposal designing a special shoe to be called Air Jordan.

Several members of a hard-working cast get the chance to rage and swear at breakneck speed here, not least Messina's sharklike and friendless agent. But it's Damon's heartfelt pitch to the Jordan family that proves the emotional heart of the film.

It's hard to see an audience here for such dialogue-driven and US sports-oriented dramedy, though this one does build tensely towards the end.

David Quinlan

USA 2023. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers (Amazon Studios). Colour by Pictureshop.
111 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 03 Apr 2023