Reviewed by: Hillari Hunter
|Featuring||Omar Epps, Debbi Morgan, Sanaa Lathan, Harry J. Lennix, Alfre Woodard|
|Producer||Spike Lee, Sam Kitt|
|Distributor||New Line Cinema|
“Love and Basketball” is an intelligent and romantic story without the fluff that usually is associated with this genre.
Quincy (Omar Epps) and Monica (Sanaa Lathan) both love the game of basketball. Quincy seems to have an easier road to athletic superstardom because he’s following in the footsteps of his father, who used to play for the Clippers. Monica has to battle against her mother, a traditional homemaker who despairs over her daughter being a tomboy, and a world that won’t allow a woman to be in the NBA. The childhood friends grow up to be lovers, then students at the same college where Monica has received a basketball scholarship. When Monica begins to soar, the couple’s relationship suffers when it becomes a matter of whose career is more important.
This movie is told from the woman’s point of view, which is refreshing. Monica is constantly picked on because she’s not ladylike, and she has a bad temper on the court. However, she’s smart, independent, and knows what she wants. Monica has to make some hard choices between her love for Quincy and her love of the game. There are many game sequences in the movie, but they stand as metaphors for what Quincy and Monica fight for to get out of life. Quincy looks at the glory and the fame of being a player, but Monica plays for respect. You get the feeling that Monica’s love for basketball is so fierce that she would play for free.
There is one sex scene between Quincy and Monica that leaves no doubt that it’s Monica’s first time. There is profanity, especially from Quincy’s parents, whose marriage is coming apart in the subplot. Both Quincy and his mother (Debbi Morgan of “Eve’s Bayou”) have scenes where they are inebriated.