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The Sixth Man
Starring Marlon Wayans and Kadeem Hardison
Directed by Randall Miller

On it's surface, The Sixth Man could be seen as a mishmash of movies like Ghost and Rocky and half a dozen buddy flicks all morphed together with state of the art special effects. Having seen the television commercial, with its emphasis on the computer effect gags, I settled down with no expectations at all.

I have never sat through a movie which moves from goofy exuberance to tearjerker and back again so easily, or so many times, as I have during The Sixth Man. The story, about a pair of brothers filled with a basketball jones and with eyes on the NCAA Championship, are separated by Death, which has a habit of doing that thing.

It's the talented, and taller brother Antoine (Kadeem Hardison) who shuffles off the mortal coil, leaving younger brother Kenny (Marlon Wayans) to lead the Washington Huskies. The team, including a short white guy and a tall Serbian guy, is a forgettable crew which leaves Wayans the job of being team leader, which he is woefully ill-equipped to do. Antoine's return, entering bodies or hampering the opposing team, is the setup for every gag, virtually all of which involve Wayans. There are spit takes and morphing gags, many you've seen in the commercial, but it all comes at you with machine gun speed.

The story is forgetfully soft; there's a reporter who figures out the scan and could break the story -- except that she's falling for Kenny (yadda yadda yadda) -- and little more than the race for the championship trophy and the supernatural gags that get it there.

Cranky looks at it this way: one big belly laugh and a lot of silence is worse than a lot of silliness coming at you fast and furious. As for the tearjerker part, it's all sappy emotional stuff, and white-light death images. It comes up fast and disappears just as fast, kicking The Sixth Man back into gag mode.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Sixth Man, he would have paid...


Yeah, well, I liked the last basketball comedy, Whoopie Goldberg's Eddie, which in retrospect could only be funny to a New Yorker, too. As much as you should see The Sixth Man on a big theater crowd, it'd work just as well on your TV screen with a bunch of friends and a lot of beer.

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