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American Underdog; Grade: B

American Underdog is based on a true story around Hall of Fame Super Bowl Winning Quarterback Kurt Warner (Zachary Levi), with regards to his long enduring journey to get himself as an NFL Quarterback.

Been awhile since I’ve been able to create an easy, quick, and simple synopsis… Feels great. I was looking forward to American Underdog, growing up I enjoyed watching Kurt Warner play football during his time with the Arizona Cardinals, I still remember that great super bowl game he almost won against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I also remember my dad accidentally punched me in the mouth during that game in the casino, as he thought he won a prop bet of Ben Roethlisberger scoring the first TouchDown of the game, as he threw up his hands in excitement which his fist accidentally swung on my mouth causing me to bleed… Fun times, I also recall watching Hotel Dogs with my sister before the game started.

Considering what Kurt Warner had gone through to make it in the NFL, there’s no question as to why this story needed to be told on the big screen because how can it not?! It’s a Hollywood underdog story waiting to be told, to hopefully inspire a lot of dreamers and especially those whom have been broken and need to be inspired to go after what they really want, regardless of all the struggles that lie ahead. American Underdog to me is not the greatest sports film ever made, however I enjoyed this one as it got the job done.

Zachary Levi playing Kurt Warner t’was surprisingly a pretty good performance, I was honestly really surprised by this casting choice since he barely looked like him at all, however it worked just find. Kurt Warner as a character in this movie is a pretty laid back, has a gentle caring soul, and has a solid work ethic once he puts his mind to it. I enjoyed the determination of this character, especially through the tough times and was willing to make sacrifices to get where he wanted to be. Kurt Warner is a great example for anyone trying to get their life together but more importantly to achieve major goals ahead, a lot of people can relate to this character as he pretty much is a regular person like you and I, so it’s possible to achieve any grand dreams/goals considering Kurt has done so himself.

Along with Zachary Levi, I thought he established solid chemistry with Anna Paquin playing Kurt’s significant other as she had a solid performance as well. The character Brenda I thought helped inspired Kurt not only spiritually, but more so helping him develop as a strong man who can provide for her and their family. I felt Brenda helped Kurt handle challenges more easily, as considering what’s she’s gone through, Kurt was able to boost his confidence and be more willing to work even harder to help provide for Brenda, the kids, and more so achieving his dream.

The story at hand was done fairly well. The material given pretty much was a for sure blue print for success, Kurt’s life story was incredible on paper as it can certainly inspire a lot of people. How the film handles that story may not be executed in the best way possible like a Rudy or a Rocky, however I found how the film makers handled and executed the story was good enough for me, as it was thoroughly engaging from start to finish. I liked the sports content especially, there are some very exciting sequences of football played here, as the coverage made this film certainly entertaining at times.

Problems I have with the film is visually it’s not as great, felt very TV-Ish for me. There is also some errors regarding the story at hand, as some elements of the story are not completely accurate. American Underdog is not the first based on a true story sports film that wasn’t totally accurate, however I felt the inaccuracy in certain moments I wish were told instead of skimming it by.

I would like to point out: I’m not sure why people are claiming this film to be a Faith Based film?! I understand that the film makers have had a history of making Faith Based films, however I don’t see American Underdog as a Faith Based film at all, as I thought it’s just a regular sports film. Like sure God is talked about a couple moments in the film, but this entire film is nowhere near a Faith Based film where it’s shoving one’s beliefs down your throat. I thought the film makers handled it pretty well, they don’t make it a distraction at all to the story, however when God comes around in the story it honestly helps develop Kurt’s mentality and as a person… Not understanding this criticism at all, even as a believer a Christ I’ve endured Faith Based Films that are certainly not good due to overly propaganda to the point where it’s more of commercial than a movie.

Overall, American Underdog was a good movie. I recommend checking this one out, take the family it’s a nice movie to watch with the entire family. -Mitch Smietana

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