You can only go so far with Oliver Stone’s antics behind the camera. But sometimes, it gets you 3/4 through a movie. Watchable, occasionally engaging, and always stupid, anything of value from this movie comes from Stone’s eye on the speed and madness of professional football. His frenetic editing and jump-cuts to varying film stocks keeps you watching, plus the fact that it is football, it is glitzy, it is steamy, sultry Miami, and Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx and James Woods provide some surprises to their hackneyed personas.
All of which helps you forget that Al Pacino, as the gruff ole’ coach, is mailing in his 76th lousy post-Tony Montana performance; Stone’s tried-and-true preachy and over-the-top screenplay of (you guessed it) man stuff and redemption; Stone’s excesses, borne of a director who simply won’t take “Um, Oliver, isn’t that a little much?” for a question; a high cheesiness factor, as Stone (unlike Cameron Crowe in Jerry Maguire) apparently wouldn’t pony up to pay for NFL rights, so we are left with the Dallas Knights and the Miami Sharks; and, an embarrassing turn by wide-mouth bass-headed Cameron Diaz, as a supposed ball-busting owner of the Sharks (it appears she just misses her Daddy, the former owner, who wanted a boy).