Arinze Kene in Freestyle (2010)

Bounce It

Ondene (Lucy Konadu) wants to be a normal teen but her hard working mum wants more for her and has cancelled all curricular activity so she can focus on making it to Oxford. But Ondene has her eye on Leon (Arinze Kene) a gifted freestyle basketball player who plays in the court by her school and who would like to go to university but hasn't the money to do so. When Carter (Colin Salmon) shows up at the court one day and announces there is a freestyle competition Ondene finds herself working with Leon as he agrees to teach the rookie to turn her netball skills into freestyle basketball skills. But as the two become close everything seems to be conspiring against then from bailiffs showing up at Leon's home to others taking a dislike to Ondene being a rich girl hanging with their guy whilst Ondene's mum tries to break them up.

Let me try and think how "Freestyle" came to be and I can imagine that someone knew a group of extremely talented freestyle basketball players who could spin, flick and juggle a basketball as if they had it magnetized to their body and thought they need to get these guys and girls in to a movie. But rather than come up with something new they stuck to the familiar so we have romance across the social classes, rivalries, a mother who disapproves and interferes, aspirations and so much more. Now I suppose in some ways sticking to the familiar was right because it means the focus of the movie is on the freestyle basketball antics and that is what is entertaining about the movie and will entertain young audiences.

But do you know what I am not young and whilst I can appreciate this movie wasn't made for me in mind I am sure there are many who will feel just as bored by all the cliche which fills the movie. It isn't just the cliche for me and when you have one girl trying to act street and tell another she hasn't got game it sounds seriously fake. Unfortunately that is one of the major issues with "Freestyle" as so much of the acting fails to convince and makes this a movie with one trick which is the basketball juggling.

What this all boils to is that there will be some who get a kick out of watching "Freestyle" and will be blinded by the basketball skills. But for many the combination of cliche with poor acting will be the most memorable thing in this movie.