American Underdog (2021)

June 7th, Movie 8

The first movie I had on the list for the June Swoon was American Underdog. When it was out, honestly, I was not in a huge rush to see it. I had people tell me that it was really good, but I just was not interested in heading to the theater to see it. So when it came up on streaming, I had come up with the idea about the June Swoon and I decided that this would be one of the films I watched during that time.

I have now finished the film, starring Zachary Levi as Kurt Warner, NFL MVP and Hall of Famer, detailing his bumpy and unlikely rise to stardom in the NFL, and I have to say that it was better than I thought it was going to be.

The film showed the struggle of Kurt Warner to get on the field to play the game, starting in University of Northern Iowa to the Iowa Barnstormers in the Arena League right up with the St. Louis Rams. It also provided the story of his relationship with Brenda (Anna Paquin), a single mother that Warner met in a country bar and who would eventually become his wife. There were plenty of terrible tragedies and difficult challenges that the pair went through that are dealt with in the film. Some of these scenes feel surface level though as if they are touched upon but not delved into deeply.

My biggest issue with the film prior to seeing it was the word that it was a faith-based film. Many of those kind of films are just so “hit you over the head” with their religious view that it takes away from the story that is being told. However, I did not find that in this movie at all. It was not preachy and the faith-based aspect was simply part of the characters. It was handled extremely well and fit in with the underdog tale that was being weaved.

Zachary Levi is charming and he has a decent chemistry with Anna Paquin. They feel well cast in the film, but I do feel like the script could have gone deeper with the story. There are parts of the film that felt more like a Lifetime original than a big screen movie.

However, a lot of the film does work and it tells a clearly inspirational story. I think the football scenes work very well in isolation and Levi and Paquin make a great pair. I would have liked to see more of a crossover between these two main story arcs. Still, it was a decent watch and I am happy that I finally got to the film.

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