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:: Like Mike

Calvin Cambridge (Lil Bow Wow) is a 14 year-old orphan at the Chesterfield Children's Home. His two great dreams are to be adopted and to be a famous basketball player. Calvin's age (prospective parents generally choose the younger children for adoption) and his height conspire against him and he spends his days playing basketball with his two best friends Murph (Jonathon Lipnicki) and Reg (Brenda Song) and dealing with Chesterfield’s resident bully Ox (Jesse Plemons).

Calvin's teacher Sister Theresa (Anne Meara) receives a box of clothing that has been donated to the orphanage including an old pair of basketball sneakers that are given to Calvin. She tells him that the sneakers allegedly belonged to a famous basketball player. When Calvin enquires as to which player she says “the tall, bald one”. As Calvin puts the sneakers on for the first time he discovers the initials ‘M J’ on the inside and assumes the tall, bald Michael Jordan to be the previous owner.

A chance meeting with the coach of the LA Knights basketball team leads to Calvin procuring tickets to the Knights next game. Calvin is sitting in the 'lucky seat’ when the ticket number is drawn for the half time entertainment which involves going one on one with Knights star Tracey Reynolds (Morris Chestnut). To the delight of the crowd Calvin absolutely wipes Tracey off the court with an amazing display of moves and tactics, culminating in a couple of spectacular and miraculous slam-dunks. Calvin becomes convinced that the sneakers are responsible for his magical performances and for making him ‘like Mike’.

The extensive collaboration between the producers of Like Mike and the NBA involves several current NBA stars. However the basketball/NBA setting becomes secondary to the main plot motivation, which is driven by Calvin’s dream of being part of a family.
Lil Bow Wow is convincing in his first feature film and his role as Calvin belies the child prodigy rap star role he plays in real life. Crispin Glover, (of Nurse Betty and Charlie’s Angels fame) is suitably smarmy and villainous as Stan Bittleman, the head of the orphanage.

Filmgoers of the non-basketball persuasion need not be put off by the thought of Michael Jordan worship and the whole American basketball thing. An extensive knowledge of such things is not required for this film, which is a contemporary Cinderella story with a well-worn pair of Nike sneakers filling in for the glass slippers.

Screening on general release.