The 6th Man - * 1/2*

The 6th Man is a rather tired sports comedy which starts out promising, but stumbles badly. Antoine and Kenny Tyler (Kadeem Hardison and Marlon Wayans) are two basketball playing brothers on the University of Washington’s team. Antoine is the eldest, and the hotshot superstar, yet when he dies on court from a mysterious heart ailment, his kid brother is left to hold the team together. Naturally, like any group of sports misfits, the Huskies don’t hold together well…until Antoine comes back. His ghost, that is, whom only Kenny can see and hear…well, most of the time. With Antoine’s ghostly help, the film becomes a version of Angels on the Basketball Court, and goes downhill from there. Surprisingly, the film is its best at its most dramatic moments, rather than when it aims for the obvious laugh. The early setup scenes, of Antoine and Kenny as children, through Antoine’s untimely death actually work quite well, and makes you wonder what the film could have done with a slightly more serious look at a sports tragedy. But no, this is another “underdog triumphing with supernatural abilities” comedy, and soon The Sixth Man falls into the same old formula (You know, where the supernatural abilities work all the way to the big game, but then the team must play on their own). Antoine is much more irritating as a ghost than as a person, constantly pulling pranks and interfering with the living…but, surprisingly, no one notices except Kenny. After the premise is set up, the movie isn’t too concerned with continuity, believability, or the intelligence of its audience. And the special effects aren’t terribly special…if you’ve seen the previews, you’ve seen the best of them. With some better writing and some fresh ideas, this movie might have been worth watching.

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