The Big Green

"Movie Magazine International" Review -- Air Date: Week Of 10/4/95

By Alex Lau

When you think of baseball movies, do you think of "The Bad News Bears" or "The Sandlot?" When you think of football movies, do you think of "The Little Giants?" When you think of hockey movies, do you think of "The Mighty Ducks?" Of course you do!

So if you're coming up blank when you think of soccer movies, Disney has the answer: "The Big Green."

"The Big Green" starts off with a group of small-town schoolkids who are low in test scores, low in self-esteem, and low on the totem pole.

The young sheriff, played by Steve Guttenberg, is a football hero from the town's glory days, before the plant shut down. Then a new teacher comes to town, bringing new ideas and a new hope: to start a soccer team, so that these kids can build their confidence, and maybe even bring the town something to cheer about.

The first soccer game is against the undefeated returning champions, the Knights, who are coached by the sheriff's old high school rival.

The rest of the movie follows a predictable path: the kids lose bad early, but come together as a team and meet the Knights in the finals, where incredible odds are met and, well, I said it would be predictable.

And yet, there were some entertaining moments. Olivia D'Abo is very appealing as the teacher, and there's some chemistry between her and Guttenberg. The kids are passable, and they're acting like kids, rather than actors playing kids.

Unfortunately, writer and first-time director Holly Goldberg Sloan couldn't stick with a single vision of what she wanted this movie to be: a romance between D'Abo and Guttenberg, a comedy about the kids, or a more dramatic piece. A tighter script would have done wonders.

Since soccer is the world's most popular sport, "The Big Green" has a big built-in audience. But "The Big Green" is a big loser.

Copyright 1995 Alex Lau

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