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The clock strikes midnight, money changes hands, the crowd is on their feet, and the court is alive with fast-paced razzle-dazzle basketball. These players don't play for a school or a pro team. They play for the street and it's underground...way underground. Tech (Anthony Mackie, Freedomland, She Hate Me) and Cruise (Wesley Jonathan, Roll Bounce) are two best friends with mad streetballing skills. They light up the court with electrifying moves and spectacular dunks. But off the court their goals couldn't be more different. Tech dreams of going to the NBA and winning a streetball game against his conceited archrival Jewelz (Phillip "Hot Sauce" Champion). Cruise, with the natural talent to be an NBA star, wants to use his college basketball scholarship to become a doctor rather than give in to the lure of former sports agent Vaughn (Wayne Brady), who wants him to go pro. CROSSOVER is a story of friendship and getting crossed, where true warriors play be their own rules and have
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Marketing aside, Crossover is more concerned with off-court melodrama than on-court action. Tech (Anthony Mackie, Half Nelson) and Noah (Wesley Jonathan, Roll Bounce) are best friends and streetball stars. Their base of operations is the Detroit of 8 Mile and Four Brothers. Tech, who has a record, just wants to get his GED and make a decent living, while Noah plans to use his college scholarship to become a doctor. Their lives take a turn when Vaughn (Wayne Brady in a rare dramatic turn), a sports agent-turned-promoter, leans on Noah to defer his dream and turn pro. Vaughn pays his b-ball team to play, but that doesn't mean, of course, that he actually cares about his players. To him, it's business. Along the way, Tech gets involved with Eboni (promising newcomer Alecia Fears) and Noah with her social-climbing friend, Vanessa (America's Next Top Model Eva Pigford, who should probably stick with the catwalk), who used to go with their arch-rival Jewelz (real-life streetball player Phillip "Hot Sauce" Champion). Just as the movie questions whether the men's friendship is built to last, it questions whether their romantic entanglements are the real deal. Writer/director Preston A. Whitmore II shoots Crossover like a rap video. The post-production effects are flashy, but there isn't a lot of substance behind the style. Mackie and Jonathan, however, get the job done. The film may be formulaic, but their natural charisma makes it worth watching. Just be forewarned that there isn't much roundball playing going on here. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Stills from Crossover (click for larger image)
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