Another year, another underdog-sports movie starring Kevin Costner. Not that I’m complaining, really, since Costner has chosen a string of highly watchable if entirely predictable feel-good projects anyone can watch on a lazy Sunday with their dad.
The latest to fall into that genre is Whale Rider director Niki Caro’s McFarland, USA, in which Costner plays real-life coach Jim White, who remade a fledgling group of Latino high-school athletes from an impoverished California farm town into cross-country running champions. Along the way, they run into better-resourced rivals and anxious parents who fret that every hour their children spend on the track is one less earning money in the fields. Maria Bello co-stars as Costner’s supportive wife.
McFarland, USA opens February 20, 2015.