The new movie ‘McFarland, USA’ hit theaters on Feb. 20 and the reviews are pouring in. So, is the inspirational Kevin Costner-starrer a hit or major bomb?
In the just released McFarland, USA, Kevin Costner plays a track coach who arrives at a new, predominantly Latino school. You might be able to guess where this is going: Kevin and his students must face their cultural differences in order to reach the athletes’ potential, etc. The story might be trite, but does that mean the new film isn’t worth seeing? Check out what the critics have to say!
‘McFarland, USA’ Review Roundup
A feel-good must see or an unoriginal waste? The critics are weighing in on McFarland, USA!
An entirely predictable, mostly honorable movie, McFarland, USAtells the story of a washed-up coach who turns a bunch of misfits into a team of champions… But this [movie] — a slick and safe Disney version of a fascinating and complicated reality — aims to be rousing rather than revelatory, and it mostly succeeds.
Based on a true story, McFarland, USA chronicles White’s creation of an award-winning track team in the town in the late 1980s, as well as his own cross-cultural awakening. Given the film’s Disney stamp, you can see the feel-good coming a mile away, though the plot’s never fleshed out enough to really distinguish it within the underdog-team genre.
As long as hearts still beat in America, there will be a place for the big, gooey Disney sports movie. Like its forefathers Remember The Titans, Miracle, and countless others, McFarland, USA is a based-on-truth myth in which a maverick coach leads a ragtag team of misfits to victory against posh, polished enemies, touching the essence of the American dream in the process. There is a grand tradition at work here, a lifeblood that runs through mid-century entertainment like Knute Rockne—All American and Kevin Costner’s baseball movies alike. All McFarland, USA has to do is notch another feel-good win, another whoop of camaraderie for countrymen at the edge of their physical limits. This it does, with an admirable economy.
McFarland, USA is a feel-good sports movie that actually lives up to the notion. The idea of an inspirational saga anchored by Kevin Costner doesn’t elicit the hopes it might have when Field of Dreams came out in 1989. Such movies have come to rely heavily on formula and cliché, possibly more than any other genre. So it’s a particularly happy surprise that McFarland turns out to be a cross-cultural charmer, an endearing true story told with intelligence and warmth by director Niki Caro.
You’ve read the reviews, now it’s your turn! Will you head out to see McFarland, USA?
— Casey Mink