They say you gotta strike while the iron's hot. I think three football movies in a month (this one, Gridiron Gang and Facing the Giants) is an indication that the movie industry gets it. Three could be overkill, but I'm keeping an open mind since there have been some decent football movies in recent years (Remember the Titans, Friday Night Lights). While Invincible isn't on the caliber of those two films, it does feature a wee Dirk Diggler running full speed with huge men following behind, trying to clobber him.
While clobbering plays a large role in this movie, Disney puts the emphasis on your easily manipulated heartstrings. Vince Papale is a nobody from South Philly with a deep love for the Eagles. The movie is set in the mid-seventies where Vince and his buddies are struggling to make ends meet and having a crappy football team is just making things worse. Dick Vermeil, the Eagles new coach, calls for open tryouts and our man Vince gives it a go. He dies in the first tryout. Okay, so he makes it to training camp and eventually earns a roster spot on the team. While his first game is rough, he has a game-winning touchdown in addition to some key tackles. Cue the credits.
Yep, that's the end of the movie, the big crescendo. The sudden ending is jarring, especially because Invincible focused heavily on the characters' tribulations up until the last 15 minutes when it was all about football. Whalberg had great chemistry with Elizabeth Banks, who played his love interest, but they just left us hanging at the end. Yes, they had a sloppy make out session before his big games but that was the only payoff. I would have preferred a sappy white picket fence ending to the unceremonious run to glory.
This story arc has been done a million times to great effect and Disney dropped the ball. Disney was so confident that the infallible story arc could drive the film that they assigned a first time director (Ericson Core) and no name writer (Brad Gann) to the film. Unfortunately, they couldn't come through. I didn't have high expectations, but if all you want is for some goosebumps and a forbidden tear from your typically manly husband, you're better off with Remember the Titans. It's only $14 from Amazon.