Game Day

Cliches about a genre or subject can become so entrenched and tiresome that they give way to counter-cliches, equally tiresome tropes that eclipse in irksomeness the cliche they were intended to usurp. The sports film, for example, has so long been the domain of plucky, honest, apple-cheeked underdogs that it was perhaps inevitable that people would be tempted to make films peddling an opposite but equally unpromising set of cliches depicting all athletes as sex-crazed, beer- and drug-addled miscreants. The fascinatingly awful but inexplicably still-on-the-air HBO series Arli$$—dig those crazy dollar signs—helped promote the sports-as-haven-for-scoundrels model, and the direct-to-video would-be satire Game Day runs it into the ground. The perennially disheveled Richard Lewis stars as a drunken, dope-smoking college basketball coach who has somehow taken his team to the national championship. Taking place during the course of one day, Game Day follows in the footsteps of such detestable would-be satires as Drop Dead Gorgeous in gamely sticking it to ugly women, small-town yokels, and the mentally retarded while failing to deliver the intended cheap laughs. But while Game Day begins as low comedy, it loses what little integrity it has about an hour in, becoming an uninspired exercise in exactly what it appears to be spoofing: a straight-faced inspirational sports film, complete with the obligatory big game and slow-mo deciding shot. Lewis, to his credit, is better than the material he's given, but his appealingly hangdog presence can't compensate for this obvious, unfunny exercise in cliché-mongering.

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