NEW FLICKS: Champions

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures Uk
WINNERS: (Left to right) Arthur (Alex Hintz), Marlon (Casey Metcalfe), Cosentino (Madison Tevlin), Coach Marcus (Woody Harrelson), Johnny (Kevin Iannucci), Darius (Joshua Felder), and Craig (Matthew Von Der Ahe) star in Champions, on Peacock and at Redbox.

Bobby Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary; Me, Myself & Irene; Shallow Hal), in his solo directorial debut, directs Woody Harrelson as Marcus Marakovich, a former minor league basketball assistant coach who after an altercation with head coach Phil Perretti (Ernie Hudson) was fired, gets in a drunk driving accident, and is ordered by the court to manage a team of intellectually disabled adults. 

Marcus is pretty rough around the edges, but his 90 days of community service sounds a lot better than the 18 months of incarceration the judge offered. He desperately wants to coach at the NBA level, and he has the talent, but his fiery temper and inability to get to personally know his players has limited his professional success. Determined to make the best of his situation, he really starts to work with and get to know these quirky players, especially Johnny (Kevin Iannucci), who offers Marcus a ride home via his sister, Alex (Kaitlin Olson), who turns about to be a former online dating app one-night stand, which didn’t end well.

Marcus has a lot of growing and learning to do, and this feel-good story is his journey from incendiary asshole to compassionate and inspirational coach. It’s very sweet. (122 min.)

—Glen Starkey