Sports

Invincible

Distributed by Buena Vista
Genre: Drama
Rated PG
Running Time: 104 minutes

by Kristy Caruso

When you finish this article, check out Melissa Minners' review of Gridiron Gang

We’ve all been there.  We’ve had a goal or dream that’s been dashed by nothing more than our disbelief in ourselves. How often are we so afraid to fail that we don’t even make an attempt to succeed?  Has anyone ever told you wouldn’t make it? Was there ever a time you didn’t think so yourself? If you’ve been there, done that (and who hasn’t?) Invincible is a movie you’ll love.

There weren’t too many feel good movies this summer.  Well, there was Little Miss Sunshine (which, by the way, was AWESOME), but other than that, nothing made the cut.  Invincible does.  Mark Wahlberg plays Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender from Philadelphia who can’t seem to get a break in the late seventies. It was a dismal time with layoffs and union scandals and to top it off, Vince’s wife walks out, leaving behind only one thing; a note telling Vince he’ll never do anything with his life.

At this same instance, the Philadelphia Eagles were at an all-time low.  It seemed like nothing would go right…until a new coach, played by Greg Kinnear, calls for open tryouts to help gain some positive press for a team whose fans had lost their faith.  Vince, an avid Eagles fan, makes the team and ultimately brings a fleck of hope to the Eagles and to a city that desperately needed something…or someone to believe in.  But not without a little drama along the way.  An outsider looking in, Papale is no longer the star football player playing in the muddy field with his friends, but someone who must overcome the stigma as a gimmick to prove he can truly play the game.  And interestingly enough, it takes a game of pick-up football that enables Papale to rediscover why he loved the game, overcome his ex-wife's criticisms and his own self doubts to finally succeed. 

Invincible is actually based on the true story of Vince Papale, who became and integral part of a championship winning Philadelphia team shown in NFL film footage as the credits rolled and we learned the true fate of those who became more than just characters on the screen.  The film, the true story, both inspired the audience to follow their dreams, to believe in themselves and to always go for the gold.  Could this have been another cliché football movie?  Yes.  However, a fine cast with excellent acting capabilities and great music along with truly authentic hair/makeup and styling, plus a romantic (and still true to life) twists, brought Invincible to a different and refreshing level. 

Mark Wahlberg makes a fine and believable bartender - and rookie football player!! Who knew such a brilliant actor hid under those Calvin Klein’s?  Wahlberg knows how to play a “normal” guy; a problem for many famous actors.  Greg Kinnear pulls it off as a clean cut coach from California - noticeably different from his new East Coast players and fans. All other supporting actors added to the authenticity of this film with funny quips, true-to-life Philadelphia accents, and raw talent necessary to pull it all together.

So is this a movie worth seeing?  Absolutely.  Even if for only a moment, Invincible will have you believing in yourself.  If a 30-year-old with no formal experience and a heart filled with passion can successfully overcome life's obstacles and father time to play NFL football for three seasons then what's to stop us all from doing the impossible and being Invincible ourselves.  The audience believed.  With every setback, every heartache and every moment of doubt, Mark Wahlberg had a crowd of moviegoers rooting for him.  You’ll leave this film with a smile on your face and perhaps, a little extra pep in your step.  What more can any movie fan ask for?

 

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