Tomorrow, the remake of the 90s classic film White Men Can’t Jump debuts on Hulu.
Generally speaking remaking classic films of the 80s and 90s (many of which have aged just fine) has been a very treacherous road that studios just can’t themselves from going down. White Men Can’t Jump joins the likes of other 80s classics such as Total Recall, Point Break, Dirty Dancing, Footloose, Red Dawn, and Overboard as films that have received recent revamped versions. So what’s the early buzz here?
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes currently shows 17 reviews, with only 29 percent of those reviews being positive. Reading some of those reviews, though, you more or less get the vibe that even their praise of the film is pretty limited and borders on being close to a negative review. Below, some highlights. First up, some of the negative reviews.
“This thing should be light on its feet, fleet and fast and fun. Instead, it drags down the court, taking plenty of shots, but never quite sinking any of them.“- IndieWire
“There isn’t a single change in Calmatic’s “White Men Can’t Jump” that isn’t for the worse.” – The Daily Beast
“This ill-advised remake… comes across as an uninspired retread that lacks its own reason for being other than its appeal to baby boomer nostalgia.” – Hollywood Reporter
“Though [Jack] Harlow is not the first musical artist to make an unsuccessful attempt to pivot to acting, it is hard to think of a more awkward screen presence. He is painfully one note, delivering every line with the same flat tone and intonation.”- Collider
“With a minimum of trash-talking, funny or otherwise, though, and little else to distract, attention inevitably turns to the familiar story, which feels routine, almost rote, as well as the poorly-defined characters.” – Screen Anarchy
“Feels less like a desecration than a missed opportunity. And as missed opportunities go, it’s pretty serious.“- New York Times
But not everyone was as down on the remake. However among the few more positive reviews though, the praise was generally pretty modest.
“While this is a serviceable, breezy, warm-hearted and occasionally amusing update, there’s nary a moment when it doesn’t feel … unnecessary.” – Chicago Sun-Times
“While the new version works fine on its own merits, compared to Shelton’s film the storytelling feels too labored.”– Los Angeles Times
“White Men Can’t Jump doesn’t have much vertical, but it’s enough to get the job done.” – The Ringer
If you were hoping the remake would really match or better the original, early signs point to being disappointed. That makes sense given how damn good the original was and how well it holds up today. But if your bar is a bit lower and you are down to see how such a classic story is reimagined in a more modern setting, and will be mostly entertained with the familiar story and not annoyed by whatever shortcomings it has, perhaps this will scratch your itch here.
So there you have it. Set your expectations accordingly.