The Sixth Man
1997, PG-13, 108 min. Directed by Randall Miller. Starring Marlon Wayans, Kadeem Hardison, Kevin Dunn, Michael Michele, David Paymer, Gary Jones, Lorenzo Orr.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., March 28, 1997
Teen Wolf meets Angels in the Outfield. Hollywood's need for the basic and the obvious is rarely as apparent as when it attempts the “feel-good” movie. You'll have to excuse my frustration, but The Sixth Man is so formulaic, from head to toe, that no other sensible response is possible. Maybe it's my crime, watching films day in and out, good and bad, waiting obliviously for the next Welles, Hitchcock, Coppola, or Antonioni. I shoot too high, perhaps. I attempt to view art and art's progress, regardless of the box-office receipts. Less than 24 hours after an unprecedented number of independent films were awarded Oscars, I find myself here: Hardison plays Antoine Tyler, an NCAA hopeful who expires on the court, leaving his brother Kenny (Wayans) behind to fulfill the family's dreams of B-ball success. When Antoine returns as a ghost to aid the team (the Seattle Huskies) in their moment of possible triumph, it's up to little brother Kenny to decide whether or not to accept the assists of his long-lost teammate. Is it fair to acquiesce to the offerings of the dead in competition? Does it even matter in a comedy like this? Hardly. The Sixth Man seeks little else but cheap comedic recognition; it's the lowest common denominator masquerading as preachy comedy. Again, forgive me if I seem out of touch, but last night I watched the most conservative awards' group in the industry mete out honors to brilliant films like Sling Blade, The English Patient, Shine, and others. I cannot help but expect more. You should, too.