Amiable, but unremarkable. That best describes this teen love story, which relies on sports movie cliches and allusions to Victor Hugo's classic tale in its effort to be interesting. The movie premiered on the Showtime cable network and later was released to home video.
Halfback Craig "Crazy" Modeau (Gabriel Hogan)--a sweet lug--is the unheralded MVP of the Notre Dame High School football team. Popular quarterback Archie (Allen Cutler)--a rich brat--thinks he's the reason for the team's success. Their coach (Scott Hylands) is Craig's father, who only cares about
the city championship and getting his son to the pros. Beautiful Esmeralda (Emmanuelle Vaugier), a French exchange student and classical pianist, comes between the winning combination. At first she dates Archie, but dumps him when he uses her to do his schoolwork. Then she befriends Craig and
starts giving him piano lessons. Coach Modeau, who wants Craig to focus on football, forbids him to play the piano or see Esmeralda.
Right before the championship game, Craig quits the team. Archie frames Esmeralda for cheating on an exam, and she's expelled. Unaware that Esmeralda is being packed off to Paris, Craig watches the team struggle without him, suits up and comes to the rescue. With time running out, he recovers a
fumble and scores the winning touchdown. Then he climbs the school's bell tower and rings the big bell signaling to Esmeralda. She returns, and Craig "convinces" Archie to confess about his wrongdoing. Finally, the elder Modeau offers his approval of his son's piano playing, and gives his blessing
to Craig and Esmeralda.
HALFBACK's "triumph of the outsider" teen romance and sports story is straightforward, and the cast is pleasant. As a result, the movie isn't particularly charming, but neither is it grating. Children who have seen Disney's THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1996) may get a kick out of the movie's
references (two of the football players are named Victor and Hugo). Otherwise, the movie has little else to recommend it.
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: G
- Review: Amiable, but unremarkable. That best describes this teen love story, which relies on sports movie cliches and allusions to Victor Hugo's classic tale in its effort to be interesting. The movie premiered on the Showtime cable network and later was released… (more)