Martin Lawrence has had a relatively successful career thus far, consisting of stand-up comedy, a television show, movies, and the standard celebrity public meltdown. While his comedy tends towards the profane, it is slapstick. Rebound is his first all-ages movie, and it's a surprisingly effective mixture of standard Lawrence humor (minus much of the crudity) and 'family' humor. If he wants, Lawrence could probably have a future making family comedies. It's too bad that Rebound is a pure paint-by-numbers affair. Heck, replace basketball with soccer and the result is the recent Will Ferrell dud Kicking and Screaming. One of the kids (Steven Anthony Lawrence, Cheaper by the Dozen) even appears in both films.

Lawrence (Bad Boys II, National Security) is Roy McCormick, a highly successful college basketball coach. Well, he was highly successful. Now, he has a huge ego and worries more about his endorsement deals than his team. After a particularly nasty incident, he is nearly kicked out of the league. If he can coach a team (none want him) without another incident before the season ends, he may get his job back. The only place that will take him is his old middle school. He reluctantly agrees, only because he desperately wants to get his old job (and lifestyle) back, and his agent (Breckin Meyer, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Garfield) thinks it will be great PR.

There's really no secret as to what's going to happen. The real mystery is why it took five credited writers, William Wolff, Ed Decter and John J. Strauss (The Lizzie Maguire Movie, The Santa Clause 2), Jon Lucas (Rustin), and Scott Moore do not have one original thing in the screenplay. The Smelter basketball team is horrible. They have not made a basket in who knows how long, and aside from one kid, Keith (Oren Williams, Clifford's Really Big Movie, Kingdom Come) has talent. The rest are a weird bunch of outcasts. There's a fat kid, a narcissist, a weird looking kid, and one with huge glasses. McCormick recruits a freakishly tall kid and a mean girl to round out the team. They still suck, but eventually get better, and McCormick has a change of heart. Oh, and they make it all the way to the finals and win on the last point. Duh.

Of course, don't forget Keith's attractive single mom Jeanie Ellis (Wendy Raquel Robinson, Two Can Play That Game, Miss Congeniality), who is also a teacher at the school and extremely skeptical of McCormick's intentions. Director Steve Carr (Daddy Day Care, Dr. Dolittle 2) basically has everything on autopilot. There is no character to the movie; it feels so generic and bland. The jokes are good enough to make one smile, but not laugh. McCormick does eventually change for the better, but this is expected. There's enough going on to keep people awake, but not enough to keep them engaged. The good news is that Lawrence is not as annoying as he usually is.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 43 minutes, Rated PG for mild language and thematic elements.

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