Lawrence's character, Roy McCormick, is no music mogul -- he just acts, dresses and lives like one, with bodyguards, a black Cadillac SUV, expensive suits and shades of a Sean "P. Diddy" Combs or Jay-Z. He's actually an arrogant big-time college basketball coach. At the start of director Steve Carr's ("Daddy Day Care") family comedy, Roy throws one temper tantrum too many and promptly gets banned for life from the league.
Roy and his small-time agent, Tim Fink (Breckin Meyer), face unemployment until kids from Roy's own Mount Vernon Junior High fax him a scribbled request to rescue their pathetic basketball team, coached by teacher Mr. Newirth (Horatio Sanz). Curiously, little is made throughout the screenplay by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore of the star coach being back at his alma mater.
Keith Ellis (Oren Williams) is the leader (read: hotshot) of the inept team of misfits, and he naturally has a hot yet doting single mom, Jeanie Wendy Raquel Robinson), who teaches at the school. Jeanie warns the ethically challenged Roy from the outset that she's keeping her eye on him. Of course, Roy has eyes for no-nonsense Jeanie as well. Parents in the audience can count the cliches while waiting for Roy to develop into Cosby-esque father material.
Practices and games, in which Roy's Smelters are typically outscored as if they were playing an NBA franchise, should be fun for young viewers. These are actually quite brief, as is, for that matter every scene, and thus the entire film. All of this, plus Roy's morality life lessons, makes "Rebound" resemble an extended version of a wholesome television sitcom.
The youngsters' performances are all acceptable but not much more, as the stereotypes they portray pretty much defeat them. There is a boy who is very tall but uncoordinated, one who constantly vomits and one who is a tough girl. The best young thespian is Steven Christopher Parker as the towering nerd Wes.
Other small supporting roles are filled by Megan Mullally as the cynical school principal and Patrick Warburton as a testosterone-filled rival coach. Laura Kightlinger turns up in a cameo.
Lawrence won't disappoint his fans, who no doubt will revel in his brief, second role as Preacher Don, a slick gold-toothed man of the cloth -- purple cloth suit and fedora, that is -- who delivers a barely intelligible "pep talk" while resembling a ghetto pimp.
The soundtrack includes pop tunes ranging from Paul Anka to Outkast. If only "Rebound"'s story had a similar range.
20th Century Fox
A Robert Simonds/Runteldat production
Director: Steve Carr
Screenwriters: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore
Story: William Wolff, Ed Decter & John J. Strauss
Producer: Robert Simonds
Executive producers: Martin Lawrence, Tracey Trench, Heidi Santelli, Paul Deason
Director of photography: Glen MacPherson
Production designer: Jaymes Hinkle
Editor: Craig Herring
Music: Teddy Castellucci
Costume designer: Salvador Perez
Roy/Preacher Don: Martin Lawrence
Jeanie: Wendy Raquel Robinson
Tim: Breckin Meyer
Mr. Newirth: Horatio Sanz
Keith: Oren Williams
Larry Sr.: Patrick Warburton
Principal Walsh: Megan Mullally
One Love: Eddy Martin
Wes: Steven Christopher Parker
MPAA rating PG
Running time -- 87 minutes