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Celtic Pride
1996 - PG-13 - 91 Mins.
Director: Tom De Cerchio
Written By: Judd Apatow
Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Daniel Stern, Damon Wayans, Christopher McDonald
Review by: John Ulmer
The first thing that struck me about "Celtic Pride" is that it was too heavy, too dark and too busy with other things, rather than focusing on its current story. It was as if it was never content with where it was, always wanting to move forward, anticipating any possible flaw that may come along the way. It seemed scared to go for any big laughs, afraid it might be shot down by picky film-goers. In the process it did, in fact, hurt itself even more by anticipating this.

Mike (Daniel Stern) and Jimmy (Dan Aykroyd) are big-time Boston Celtics fans. They get mood swings when the Celtics are losing, they get all-time-highs when they are winning. Mike's wife has even left him because he is so wrapped up around the sport. In the beginning of the movie, the Celtics and the Utah Jazz are about to play the sixth game of the NBA championships. Mike and Jimmy, eagerly anticipating and looking forward to the game, get front-row seats and watch in horror as the Jazz's newest player, Lewis Scott (Damon Wayans), completely owns the court and practically beats the Celtics by himself.

Mike and Jimmy woefully retreat to a local bar, where they find that Lewis Scott is drinking. Posing as enthusiastic Utah fans, Mike and Jimmy push Scott to drink more and more, getting him extremely drunk. There's a funny scene during this when Mike and Jimmy meet Larry Byrd and have to pretend that they are Utah fans. The real big sports fans out there might get a kick out of that, and even the whole movie, but only the strong ones.

After their late-night drinking binge, Mike and Jimmy take Scott back to their home, and eventually kidnap him, holding him hostage in Jimmy's apartment.

Damon Wayans, star of "Bulletproof" and "Major Payne," is surprisingly the funniest guy in this movie. He reminds me of the black version of my uncle, both in looks, humor and facial expressions. He gets the good one-liners, the good jokes. And it's funny to watch him be suspicious of everyone, such as when Mike and Jimmy originally approach him. Watch his face. His eyebrow arches, he talks sarcastically. I must say I was surprised.

But Dan Aykroyd and Daniel Stern, both men I generally like in comedies, seem to just go with the flow, not really helping out the movie a lot. They are supposed to be long-time buddies and sports fanatics, but we don't feel any mutual sports bond between them, or just a bonding of friendship. The actors themselves are fine, but fail to deliver any sparks of chemistry.

"Celtic Pride" is too heavy on itself. It's too serious, too melodramatic, too anti-climatic. It is as if director Tom De Cerchio is afraid to try anything risky for big laughs. Something like "There's Something About Mary" may not be the funniest movie ever (I certainly didn't think so), but the laughs were controversial and made the film more than worth seeing. "Celtic Pride" is just another average, run-o'-the-mill comedy. Ho-hum laughter result from ho-hum gags. There's nothing very funny here. It's basically for the very big sports fanatics, the kind of fanatics who would ritualistically kill off opposing team players just for their team to win. The premise of this movie is no doubt very funny in itself, but one single premise cannot a good movie make.
Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

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