White Men Can’t Jump Parent Guide
This basketball movie fouls out for massive amounts of profanity.
Parent Movie Review
Kamal (Sinqua Walls) was on track to become an NBA star, until a high school incident derailed his career and tanked his confidence. Now working as a delivery driver and struggling to make ends meet, Kamal only plays basketball at the local gym with his friends. There he meets Jeremy (Jack Harlow), who was kept from the pro leagues by injuries and now uses his talents to coach young wannabes. The two decide to start hustling people in pickup games to make a little extra cash. The partnership evolves into an unlikely friendship as their games get bigger and the financial stakes higher.
I may be a 90s kid, but I never saw 1992’s White Men Can’t Jump, although its position in the cultural zeitgeist ensured that I got the gist of it. This year’s reimagining does not follow the plot line of the original, so I wouldn’t call it a remake, but it has the same basic premise, albeit modernized for 2020’s audiences.
This is a tale framed around African American experiences and culture, to a far greater extent than the 1992 version (which was written and directed by a white man). The racial and cultural point of view provided by the director and writers is apparent in the finished product. That’s not to say that people of other cultural backgrounds can’t enjoy this film, but it does have an obvious intended audience, especially with some of its specific references and jokes.
The story itself is well told and features interesting character growth and development. Kamal is a complicated and flawed person, which makes him deeply relatable. His character arc is believable and intriguing. I personally find Jeremy to be deeply unlikable. Though his character does experience some growth towards the end of the story, I don’t find it as redemptive as the movie clearly intends. The film is predictable (it is a sports flick after all), but it touches on some deeper themes around male relationships, emotional maturity, and letting go of the past, which makes it both compelling and entertaining.
Though I enjoyed the overall writing and characters, I can’t recommend this film for most audiences. There are extremely high amounts of profanity, including racial slurs and over 100 F-bombs. I do think this was done for the sake of realism rather than simply thrown in for shock value, but it is still a lot to take in. There’s also a plot point around illegal uses of painkillers and some other drug references, as well as some innuendo and fist fighting. Fans of the 1992 classic who have no qualms around negative content will probably enjoy this modernized and culturally specific reimagining, but I wouldn’t recommend viewing it with grandma, no matter how big of a Lakers fan she might be.Directed by Calmatic. Starring Sinqua Walls, Jack Harlow, Lance Reddick. Running time: 101 minutes. Theatrical release May 19, 2023. Updated May 18, 2023
Watch the trailer for White Men Can’t Jump
White Men Can’t Jump
Rating & Content Info
Why is White Men Can’t Jump rated R? White Men Can’t Jump is rated R by the MPAA for pervasive language and some drug material
Violence: Some instances of fist fighting. A man uses a flamethrower in a comedic context.
Sexual Content: Adult couples kiss. A couple kiss and it is implied they are going to have sex, but nothing is shown. There is some sexual innuendo.
Profanity: The script features over 200 sexual expletives, around 80 mild and moderate expletives, and eight uses of terms of deity. There are some crude gestures. There are around 12 uses of a racial slur, although they are used in friendly contexts between people of that racial group.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There are some scenes of adult social drinking. A man is addicted to painkillers, which he buys illegally. A character is shown drunk. There are references to marijuana purchase and consumption.
Page last updated May 18, 2023
White Men Can’t Jump Parents' Guide
What does Kamal struggle with emotionally and how does he learn to overcome that challenge? What motivates him?