While it might seem cruel to label a film that a cast and crew almost assuredly worked hard to create as being completely unnecessary, that is just what we have to do in the case of the recent remake of White Men Can’t Jump. Still, as much as the film didn’t need to happen, and as bad as it actually is, it has still managed to make its way to the Top 10 on Disney Plus.
A remake of the Ron Shelton sports-comedy classic that was released in 1992, the new White Men Can’t Jump lacks any of the original’s charm. Helmed by music video director Calmatic, the movie is visually flashy but lacks the depth and nuance of its predecessor. Rapper Jack Harlow fills in for Woody Harrelson, and Sinqua Walls covers for Wesley Snipes, but neither young buck can carry the same charisma and screen presence as the original actors.
The overall issue here is the apparent pointlessness of the remake. White Men Can’t Jump is still a movie that holds up pretty well today. The underlying racial tensions the movie somewhat explores are still sadly prescient, and it also manages to do much more. The original just had a much more interesting storyline attached to it, a better cast of supporting characters, and superior character development. Also, 90s Snipes simply cannot be touched for his incredible ability to create a hypnotically interesting character.
The remake may simply have been better served to do something new in the area of basketball. Critics and audiences agree, with both combining to give low ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. And yet, the film is finding an audience on streaming service Disney Plus, managing to dribble into a Top 10 that is currently dominated by Marvel movies and Disney animated powerhouses. I honestly can’t tell if this is a success for a simple diversity of content or a damning indicator of an audience that will explore anything put in front of them.
Either way, should you be in the mood to watch a basketball film soon, you could do worse than checking out the original White Men Can’t Jump, but you might want to leave the new version on the bench.