Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Like Mike

MPAA Rating: PG for brief mild language.

Reviewed by: Holly Cover
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2002
Lil Bow Wow and Morris Chestnut in Like Mike

Starring: Lil' Bow Wow, Morris Chestnut, Jonathan Lipnicki, Sandra Prosper, Brenda Song | Directed by: John Schultz | Produced by: Barry Josephson, Peter Heller | Written by: Jordan Moffet, Michael Elliot | Distributor: 20th Century Fox

In the enjoyable “Like Mike” from 20th Century Fox, Calvin Cambridge (Lil' Bow Wow) is an orphan in a group home. He’s a boy often picked on by the older kids, while the group home director is not exactly attentive and makes them work outside the basketball arena on game days. More than anything, Calvin desperately wants a family.

When Calvin finds a pair of used sneakers just his size with the initials “M.J.” on them, he assumes Michael Jordan was the previous owner. And after a magical string of events, Calvin, and the whole world discover that he can play with the big boys—the Knights! But the whole thing could come to a screeching halt if anyone discovers what the secret is to Calvin’s performance, or if anything happens to those sneakers. Naturally, various events make it necessary for Calvin and his friends to work together to get him and his sneakers to a must-win game.

Along the way, Calvin develops relationships with the team, and in his search for a family, eventually finds someone who cares for him.

“Like Mike” is a very cute, very funny movie. It’s great for kids, and not just those interested in basketball. There are a few curse words, but overall, unless a person looks at the number, or is listening for them, those words are not very noticeable. There is no sex or nudity, and no one gets hurt but the bad guy (and he gets in trouble at the end).

The value of this movie is in its display of qualities like friendship, loyalty, and perseverance, as well as a look into a world many Christian families have no dealings with. There is no direct Christian reference, although Calvin does pray to be like Mike (Jordan). But there are wholesome desires like having a family, being loyal to friends, playing well, being honest, respecting authorities and rules, and working with others to achieve a goal.

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This is a fun movie to see with your kids and their friends. I took my 9 yr old daughter and two of her friends to see it… we had a wonderful time. Nothing too objectionable, nice story, funny and charming. We loved that Calvin wanted Tracey to pray with him, showing God in all things. Go see it, have fun, and leave feeling good.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—RM, age 31
Positive—I took my children to see this movie because they love God first and basketball. At first, I was concerned about the star Bow Wow and what kind of image he might portray. But I thought the movie was delightful!! There are a couple of bad words, but not real blatant. Bow Wow can really act, and he encourages his co-star Morris Chestnut to pray one night and is honest with the b-ball coach. Also they show how important it is to talk and have a relationship with one’s father.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—M. McCants, age 37
Positive—Both my 11 year daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. She said she could tell how the movie would end but she still liked it. The audience laughter came from both the parents and kids. The appearances of NBA stars added to the reality of the movie.

The only objectionable parts were a few “D” words, a few minutes where a character brings a girl to the hotel room (nothing happens and she stays outside), and a few scenes with suggestive cheerleader dancing. Overall, a good movie that emphasizes it is more important to have a family than to be famous.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Bill Willams, age 53
Positive—We took our 9-year old daughter to see “Like Mike,” and it was surprisingly good! We had to wait in a long line to even get in to see it, so it is obviously a well liked movie. It had some objectionable words (mainly by the Basketball announcer), but I doubt our daughter picked up on them. On very few occasions have we been in a theater where there was cheering and clapping, but the movie just had that feeling to it (good vs. evil, overcoming the odds, etc.)

By the end of the movie, we were all cheering too. It has some very touching moments, and is very exciting during the basketball playing. Lil' Bow Wow is a cute, good actor. His character in the movie has a few scenes where he prays to God, showing his dependence on God, and that God is the one to rely on when things are bad and when things are good. Overall, this was a very good movie, with only a few bad words to mess it up.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Beverly Shoemaker, age 32
Comments from young people
Positive—Like Mike was a very funny movie. It showed how loyal and helpful friends should be. It had a few bad words (the “D” word) but was otherwise very good. When Calvin convinces Tracey to pray with him at night that was fun. There was NO sex, nude scenes or kissing junk. I highly recommend this movie for all ages.
My Ratings: [Excellent / 4½]
—Ruth, age 11
Neutral—Like Mike was an okay movie for the kiddies, or some teens on a “rainy” day. But the plot was very perdictable. I went with a friend to see this and in about the first 5 minutes I could see how the movie would end (I was basically right).
My Ratings: [Good / 3]
—Wesley (girl), age 13
Positive—I think Like Mike was an excellent movie. I am a HUGE basketball fan and seeing the famous NBA players was really cool. I like the way that Bow Wow emphasizes for his team-mate, Tracey, to pray with him before bed. I also like how he was a great friend towards Murph by asking Tracey to adopt Murph, too. It also has lots of funny moments in the movie like when Murph puts on the special shoes and tries to be good at basketball and lots of other moments. I think this was a great movie.
My Ratings: [Good / 4½]
—Luke Shomo, age 12
Movie Critics
…what makes the film work and even come off as moderately entertaining—on its own level—is its good-natured sense, charm, and the presence of its young lead actor…
—ScreenIt!
…2 scatological terms, 1 anatomical term, 8 mild obscenities, 3 religious exclamations…
—Kids-in-Mind
…has a strong moral worldview with a positive outlook on faith and prayer. There are only a few minor objectionable elements in the movie…
—Dr. Tom Snyder, Movieguide