More noise than signal

White Men Can’t Jump

Republished from the show notes of my other site, Fuds on Film.

We move to the other side of the US of A, with Snipes playing Sidney Deane, who is about to be hustled in a game of street basketball by Woody Harrelson’s Billy Hoyle, whose talents are often underestimated because he is white. Here is the real racism, people, as some youtube dipshits would tell you. Some of whom were probably standing for UKIP in the EU elections.

Billy’s trying to make enough money to get him and his girlfriend, Rosie Perez’s Gloria, out of debt from the mob over Billy’s gambling debt, the two living on the run, Gloria boning up on general knowledge for her highly anticipated appearance on Jeopardy that’s surely just around the corner. And also being an alcoholic for one scene and then having that plot strand never mentioned again, which is odd while it occurs to me.

Anyway, Sidney tracks down Billy, first with a proposal of a hustling partnership then, after some double-crossing unpleasantness, to go on to win a tidy sum of money in a tournament to get Billy out of hock, and Sidney and his family out of the rough neighbourhood they still find themselves in. Sounds like a plan, if Billy can keep his propensity for gambling under control.

Spoilers – he cannot.

I’m not going to claim that White Men Can’t Jump has ever been a firm favourite of mine, but I liked it when I first saw it, like, twenty-odd years ago, and I’m gratified to find I like it just as much now. I think, based on some pretty shaky memories, admittedly. The Snipes – Harrelson double act shows a lot of charisma, and the script has some pretty funny lines being thrown out more or less non stop, which is what you want in a comedy. The basketball action is well handled, and the relationships all feel believable enough.

A really enjoyable film, and I think one of the most easily likeable films in the Snipes Cinematic Universe. Why wouldn’t you watch this?