Invincible is proof positive that when Mickey gets his hands on live action he’ll do his very best to maim it. The fact becomes even more apparent when dealing with a true story, when the dreaded media rodent can arrange history to suit its nefarious and sappy plans. I think you can figure out from the first two paragraphs (and the grade) that this wasn’t an experience I enjoyed, but please read on to learn the reasons behind why Invincible comes off as dull, predictable, and overly sentimental.
The story behind Invincible is the typical “down on his luck heart of golder making good and showing all those haters what’s really up” type of deal. Mark Wahlberg plays a Philadelphia bartender in his thirties whose wife has left him. He’s a rabid Eagles fan and when he hears that new head coach Dick Vermeil is holding open tryouts to get the city excited about NFL football again he’s convinced by some friends to go tryout. Vermeil (Greg Kinnear) is a coach trying to shake things up and Wahlberg might just have a chance to make the team and… well, if you can’t figure out what happens from there I can only feel bad for your offspring. Now let’s get down and dirty with this vile little project.
First off, Marky does pretty well as a guy who could be a thirty something football hopeful. He’s athletic and looks good doing the slow motion shots; the football action in general looks purty. Another helpful thing is that this movie comes complete with the NFL license meaning we get to see real Eagles helmets, the real Cowboy stadium, and a fake Tom Landry (even NFL properties couldn’t bring him back). This touch of authenticity is what every movie about football needs but unfortunately they only let do gooder feel good style films enjoy the rights (Jerry Maguire yes, Any Given Sunday, no). There’s the good stuff, the 25 minutes or so spent on the practice field or on gameday works well enough to not completely anger you.
The rest doesn’t work at all. The downtrodden city of Philadelphia is somehow cast as a city that needs Eagle football to bring it back. Nevermind you that the problem is clearly lack of jobs, as the film accurately shows, the local boys winning on Sunday should take away everyone’s concern over rent. The other issue is that every relationship is full of meaningful hugs and glances, or alternatively words of the utmost sincere encouragement. This is where Disney’s truly evil mouse ears cloud the whole damn thing. No amount of good acting can cure the dialogue that is clearly meant for five years olds. The love interest of Wahlberg (minor spoiler ahead – but you better not be seeing this anyway) is the chick from The 40 Year-Old Virgin who Steve Carrell tells “You’d better have a big trunk because I’m putting my bike in it!” That’s a great line that helped me through a lot of this film. Oh, she’s not bad either by the way, easy on the eyes, does what she can with the script, I don’t hold her personally responsible, and so on and so forth.
Guess who I do hold responsible? Disney as a whole. Quit putting out junk! You got a mini victory with Remember the Titans but you’ve gone Eight Below on our junk one time too often. We’re not going to take it anymore. Don’t see this today or tomorrow, and take the next decade or so off of it too. See it in eleven years to show your children what happens when entertainment goes soft.