Reviewed by: Dale Mason
“Eddie” is a film about a dream come true, disillusionment and diligence. For Christians, it reminds of the importance of being a wise steward of whatever giftedness/talents God has given. It is also a “formula film” similar in respects to such releases as “Sister Act” and others, but lacking the sparkle and energy which helped to distinguish such earlier works.
Though it features a powerful and often funny cast (led by comedian Whoopi Goldberg and supported by numerous NBA stars of the mid-1990s) the actors are never really able to overcome the deadly combination of a “B” quality script and “C-” directing.
“Eddie” is the nickname of Edwina Franklin, a widowed Manhattan taxi driver whose tremendous enthusiasm for her beloved New York Knicks basketball team is evidenced by her unending, overzealous and loudmouthed presence at each and every home game. When a new owner (Wild Bill Burgess) takes control of the team, he thinks that entertainment is the key to sagging ticket sales. As a publicity stunt, Wild Bill rigs a drawing through which Eddie becomes honorary coach for the second half of a game. When Wild Bill invites Edwina down from the nosebleed seats to coach again the next game, the real coach quits in a huff and Eddie is eventually persuaded to be the coach for the rest of the season.
For all of her adult life Eddie has worshipped with devotion and enthusiasm at the temple of her “gods,” the arena where the Nicks play and the audience praises. But her admiration dwindles as the 7-foot men of the court reveal their humanity and weaknesses which have led to their ongoing losing streak.
The players are self-centered playboys, superstars who don’t even practice anymore. Their boyhood love for the game is gone. Basketball is a business.
Eddie realizes that she must somehow inspire them to once again work together as a team, but fails until she is able to help them to get their own disintegrating private lives in order. She becomes more than a basketball coach—she is also a marriage counselor, a student of a foreign language, and a small group dynamics therapist.
When Eddie removes a stuck-up superstar and replaces him with a wise but nearly worn out veteran player, the team begins to turn around and, you guessed it, goes on to win a birth in the playoffs.
While the basic plot of this film was good, the final product is sadly marred by a smorgasbord of profanity (around 20 occurrences). Additionally, to be sure that the film would get a PG-13 rather than just a PG rating, it also includes; a quick (funny) shot of a player in a jock strap, numerous sexual innuendo and sexually-oriented jokes, a verbally frank and visually enticing bedroom scene (between a married player and his formerly estranged wife, with Eddie the surprised matchmaker hiding under the bed), and more.
Too bad that the creators of this potentially inspiring movie decided to try to appeal to mans' baser instincts (the sin nature) rather than improve the script and hire a director who would be able to make all of the film’s elements work together well.