Roy McCormick (Martin Lawrence) is a college basketball coach for Ohio Polytechnic with too much temper and not enough control. And it appears his career is about to take a time out after he angrily tosses a ball and accidentally kills the opponents' treasured mascot -- a live falcon.
This latest display of rage scores the infamous hothead a one-way ticket out of the league. Ever optimistic, his personal promotions manager, Tim (Breckin Meyer), feels Coach Roy's disastrous loss can be turned into a comeback if he carefully makes the right moves.
Meanwhile at Mount Vernon Jr. High, a small group of rag tag boys yearn to play basketball. Calling themselves the Smelters, the team consists of Ralph (Steven Anthony Lawrence), who stands at a towering four feet and tends to throw up whenever the pressure is on; Fuzzy (Logan McElroy), a little overweight but determined fellow; Goggles (Gus Hoffman), so nicknamed for the safety wear he sports because he always gets hit with the ball; and One Love (Eddy Martin), the guy with big dreams of a sponsorship deal. The only kid showing any real promise is Keith (Oren Williams), the squad's leader. Yet he thinks he's a one-man show.
Desperate for some professional training, the wannabes learn of Coach Roy's fate. Aware that their school was the big time hoopster's former Alma Mater, the players send his manager an offer of employment. The hand scrawled note convinces Tim that this could be the ultimate promotional opportunity, with the Coach scoring mega media points for volunteering to take on the little line-up.
Reluctant to accept the gig, but recognizing he has few other choices, Coach Roy arrives at the school. Immediately he recognizes the team's poor situation--both in skills and economics. He also realizes he is facing major skepticism from the parents, especially Keith's mother Wendy (Jeanie Ellis), who isn't so sure she wants her son learning the tutor's courtside behavior. However, the penalized instructor knows he needs a winning streak if he hopes to get back in the game.
Yes, this storyline has been told so many times in the past, it hardly seems necessary to detail a yarn about a group of underdogs with an ornery leader. Last minute scores, broken down school buses, and music montages full of bonding moments with increasing achievements, are the rules de rigueur for this genre.
Still, what will leave parents applauding is all the content this script decides to bench. Sexual remarks, flatulence jokes, and nasty teachers are nowhere to be found... which is even more amazing for a comedy starring Martin Lawrence. The only foul the movie may hold is a tough female student recruited by Roy to help give the team some literal punch. Considering present attitudes toward school bullying, some viewers may not find this funny.
Instead teamwork, sacrifice, and a group of truly "nice kids" in need of a little guidance and direction, create a film that is truly unusual, even though it's predictable.