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In 1981 in L.A., Monica moves in next door to Quincy. They're 11, and both want to play in the NBA, just like Quincy's dad. Their love-hate relationship lasts into high school, with Monica's edge and Quincy's top-dog attitude separating them, except when Quincy's parents argue and he climbs through Monica's window to sleep on the floor. As high school ends, they come together as a couple, but within a year, with both of them playing ball at USC, Quincy's relationship with his father takes an ugly turn, and it leads to a break up with Monica. Some years later, their pro careers at a crossroads, they meet again. It's time for a final game of one-on-one with high stakes. Written by
Love and Basketball: Monica and Quincy have lived beside one another since they were kids, and they only care about two things in life - basketball and each other.
I am definitely more of a movie fan than a basketball fan, thus I went in expecting a jock flick with a token relationship thrown in to justify the title. I could not have been more wrong. Unlike "He Got Game" (another very good film), which dwells solely on the negative aspects of the sport - hustlers, hookers, drugs and death, L&B concentrates on the positive things in life and basketball serves as the background rather than the focus. The story is very well written and works on several levels - it refuses to be pinned down as simply a romance or drama, choosing instead a careful blending of different elements. My only complaint - minor at that - would have to be the ending (and no I'm not going to tell you).
First, how could I find fault with a film that actually does a great casting job with Tyra Banks? She has a small cameo role- she plays a beautiful stewardess, small stretch - with some great lines. Omar Epps brings his trademark cockiness to the role, and although it took me awhile to buy him as a basketball player -he's not exactly Goliath -he grows on you. More importantly, he exhibits and a depth and range that he's never shown before. Sanaa Lathan however, goes one step further, and demonstrates an intensity both on and off the court that puts her in a league all her own. Her performance can be summed up as superb.
L&B is real, engaging, and enjoyable.
Don't miss it.
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