Forever Strong Should Play Well to Church Groups, Niche Sports Enthusiasts


Forever Strong
Directed by Ryan Little
Crane Movie Co.
Opens September 26

This latest variant in the life-lessons-through-youth-sports continuum takes place in a strange alternate America where people care about rugby and drunk drivers careen menacingly around every corner. Star rugger Rick (Sean Faris, cruising on a passably Cruise-like mug) is an out-of-control brat until, during a stint in juvie, he's hooked up with a coach/confessor (Gary Cole) who offers a two-a-day regimen in ascetic self-discipline and subjugation of the ego to the team. (Valuable morals, sure, but I'd already learned them from Drumline.) Though director Ryan Little puts together a clean, professional package, at bottom this is a nearly-two-hour scrum of therapeutic direct encounters, with characters forever on-the-button articulating motivations ("What's more important—a game or your son?" "I don't play for your team, I play for myself!"), periodically juiced with buttrock and montages of Rick's rugby team proudly lateralling its way to victory. It should come as no surprise to find that this paean to clean living, which might have been co-scripted by Carrie Nation, was brought to you by the Salt Lake City film industry. Should play well to church groups and niche sports enthusiasts waiting on the great life-affirming film about curling.

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