White men can jump

1992 remake is remarkably funny


Fair use from New York Times

John Hunter

On March 27, 1992, Woody Harrelson starred alongside Wesley Snipes in a comedy/sport film called, “White Men Can’t Jump.” The story followed two basketball players that hustled people in pickup games to make money, one of which owed money to the Mob. On May 19, this story was brought back to the big screen with a slight twist, proving movies can be remade well.

In college, Kamal Allen (Sinqua Walls) was a big basketball athlete. During one of his college games a student in the crowd started messing with him which broke out into a fight. 10 years later Kamal is only playing pickup games at the gym. One day, a random white guy who looks like he walked in for yoga class walks up to him trashing on his game. His name is Jeremy (Jack Harlow), and he played for Gonzaga until he tore both of his ACL’s. Jeremy beats Kamal in a one on one by trash talking him and making him think he can’t hoop. Kamal notices this and asks him to play pickup games with some guys at other gyms so they can hustle them for money because both of them need it, desperately. 

Kamal’s wife, Imani Allen (Teyana Taylor) wants to start her own salon but has to cut people’s hair inside her own house due to financial issues. Jeremy’s girlfriend, Tatiana (Laura Harrier) works at a small dance studio choreographing recitals and shows to make money for her and her boyfriend. Both of them having the incentive to make money decide to enter a tournament together to win a half a million dollars. 

When I first heard about this movie I was extremely excited. I saw the trailer and immediately thought, why is Jack Harlow acting in a basketball movie? At the time I didn’t know it was a remake. After watching “White Men Can’t Jump,” I couldn’t have been more impressed.

Usually when celebrities who aren’t known for acting act in films or TV shows, it’s not that great of a performance. But Jack Harlow absolutely nailed the role of Jeremy. He brought so much energy and fun to the film. He provides so much comedic value and delivers on every single joke in the script. 

I didn’t know who Sinqua Walls was before this movie, but if there are any movies that he’s coming out soon, sign me up. He brought the most emotion to the film by far, whether it was through comedy, sadness or joy. His relationship with his family is really emphasized and you get to see how much everyone in his life really means to him. 

The smaller roles in the film such as Imani and Tatiana also had really good performances that added a lot to the movie. They added more motive behind Kamal and Jeremy’s actions and provided the emotion and character development that both Kamal and Jeremy had throughout the film.

The movie has a really nice soundtrack consisting of basketball related songs. The setting being Venice, California adds to the atmosphere of the film and makes it fun and relaxing. The highlight of the film is the comedy. The writers of this movie did a very good job of coming up with creative and well thought out jokes. And all the actors did a great job delivering those jokes.

In general I tend to love movies that are exciting, funny and entertaining. This movie did all three of those things. It keeps you engaged, the humor is outstanding and the whole movie is very creative and doesn’t make the original version of the film any worse. 

If you haven’t seen the original, you will definitely enjoy this one. But if you have seen the original and enjoyed it, you should definitely check out “White Men Can’t Jump” streaming on Hulu.

“White Men Can’t Jump:” ★★★★★