This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
If a fictional film carried the story line of "Undefeated" a white coach leads an underdog inner-city high-school football team to victory, teaching lessons in character to the African-American players along the way it would be decried as a cliche-ridden retread of "The White Shadow," "Dangerous Minds" and a thousand other Hollywood stories.
This story is true, though: The coach, Bill Courtney, works to inspire the players of the Manassas Tigers, near Memphis, Tenn., once a perennial 0-10 doormat and, in the 2009 season chronicled in this Oscar-winning documentary, poised to win.
Directors Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin delve into the issues of 21st-century sports and highlight several players, including a college prospect trying to improve his grades and a smart student discouraged by a knee injury. But the power of those cliches is irresistible, and Lindsay and Martin ultimately deliver the heart-tugging sports drama that's expected of them.
Opens Friday, May 11, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated PG-13 for some language; 113 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit nowsaltlake.com/movies.