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Review: The Mighty Macs

A study in stereotypes
By PETER KEOUGH  |  October 18, 2011
2.0 2.0 Stars

Based on a true story, but drawing on every underdog sports movie ever made, Tim Chambers's tale of Immaculata College's 1971 championship women's basketball team had me going — up to the regional semi-finals. That's when the pep talks just pooped me out. Most come from hardboiled Coach Cathy Rush (Carla Gugino), a newly married, quasi-feminist (it's 1971) ex-jock who takes on the impoverished, nun-run school's ragtag hoops team. It's made up of players whose stories are, as Rush says in voiceover, "quickly told." That's because they're stereotypes, as is flinty Mother Superior (Ellen Burstyn) and vacillating Sister Sunday (Marley Shelton, stunning in a wimple), who volunteers as assistant coach. They all find inspiration in Rush's litany of mantras such as "Believe!" "Trust!" and "Pick up your feet!" I admit, I also got choked up at more than one manipulative moment. But Macs runs the same plays too often and fouls out.

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