AMERICAN UNDERDOG (NETFLIX) (2021)
SYNOPSIS: American Underdog tells the inspirational true story of Kurt Warner (Zachary Levi), who went from a stocking shelves at a grocery store to a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Hall of Fame quarterback. The film centers on Warner’s unique story and years of challenges and setbacks that could have derailed his aspirations to become an NFL player – but just when his dreams seemed all but out of reach, it is only with the support of his wife, Brenda (Anna Paquin) and the encouragement of his family, coaches, and teammates that Warner perseveres and finds the strength to show the world the champion that he already is. American Underdog is an uplifting story that demonstrates that anything is possible when you have faith, family and determination.
Everyone loves an underdog story even it is formulaic and predictable. American Underdog shines mainly because of its cast and an uplifting message about hope and dreams.
Based on a true story of NFL quarterback Kurt Warner (Zachary Levi), the movie traces the ups and downs of the legendary sports star who has to work the graveyard shift at the local supermarket to help support his partner, Brenda (Anna Paquin) and her two kids from an earlier marriage before he is drafted into the big league.
Aside from being a true story about a man who finally believes and fulfil his dreams, it’s also a faith- based family drama competently directed by the Erwin brothers known for their wholesome Christian films. Fortunately, American Underdog is not one flick that will deter the non-religious audiences because the Erwins successfully capture the essence of the main character and tells a compelling narrative from start to finish instead of mere religion preaching.
First of all, the story highlights the undying perseverance of Kurt Warner and despite all odds, he remarkably manages to join the St. Louis Rams only in his late twenties. And he of course has his supportive spouse to thank for, a lady who constantly encourages her husband to fulfil his ambition. Still, there’s a good measure of stumbling blocks in their relationship to overcome that helped shape their future family.
Warner of course has two lucky stars to thank for. Arena Football manager and coach Jim Foster (Bruce McGill) who gave him a start in the smaller scale football matches and grizzled football coach, Dick Vermeil (Dennis Quaid who appears late into the movie) who believes there is something in him that will make him the Ram’s quarterback.
While there are enough subplots and characters to fill up another movie, the chemistry and believable performances of Zachary Levi and Anna Paquin are the main factor that raises the movie by a few points. Taking into account, the well-staged finale that is infused with real-life footages, the entire effort while nothing groundbreaking is apparently inspiring and rousing. American Underdog is full of good intentions and there’s no harm in watching a heart-warming flick once a while.
Review by Linus Tee