Linda Cook review: ‘American Underdog’ is full of hope

Local News

“American Underdog” is a true story that’ll just plain make you feel good to watch.

The faith-based story about Kurt Warner shows him stocking shelves in a Hy-Vee and ends, not surprisingly, with his triumph on the football field. It’s the stuff movies are made up, and it just so happens to be true. And it has Quad-City ties, too: Warner’s in-laws live in the Eldridge area.

Zachary Levi (“Shazam!”) plays Warner, a quarterback in the 1990s at the University of Northern Iowa. He has dreams of playing in the pros.

One night he meets Brenda (Anna Paquin) in a country/western bar. She seems flustered but flattered by his attentions, and tries to discourage him at first. But he refuses to give up, and walks miles to her house the next day.

On day, he thinks his dream may come true: He is invited to try out for the Green Bay Packers, but a moment’s hesitation costs him his opportunity to play.

So there Kurt is, working at a grocery store, with the hope of a limited future, until Iowa Barnstormers Coach Jim Foster (Bruce McGill) appears and offers him a chance to play arena football.

Warner is at the right place at the right time to get the attention of a St. Louis Rams recruiter.

And you probably know what happens next. If you don’t, so much the better.

The screenplay is based on Warner’s book “All Things Possible.” Directors Jon and Andrew Erwin are known for such prior movies as “I Can Only Imagine” and “I Still Believe,” which also feature characters who face struggles but maintain their faith.

It’s a movie full of hope, about genuinely nice people who overcome the odds. You don’t have to be a football fan to enjoy this solid inspirational movie.

3 stars

Running time: 112 minutes.

Rated: PG for adult themes.

At Cinemark, Davenport; Regal, Moline; and Palms 10, Muscatine.

Watch the trailer here.

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