The high school sports drama Crooked Arrows has two — but only two — original selling points: Its protagonists are Native Americans, and the sport in question is lacrosse.
That's something you don't see every day.
Other than that, however, the film's moves are taken straight out of the Bad News Bears playbook.
Roster of struggling but plucky players? Check. Troubled, reluctant coach seeking redemption? Check. Arrogant arch rivals in need of comeuppance? Climactic, high-stakes game? Inspirational message about the power of believing in yourself? Check, check and check.
Making matters worse, the film suffers from acting that ranges from the amateurish to the only average. At the high end of the scale is Brandon Routh, who also is listed as one of the film's executive producers. The washed-up Superman Returns star is blandly passable as mixed-blood Joe Logan, a former high school lacrosse hotshot turned real estate developer and manager of his reservation's casino. When Joe's unscrupulous boss (Tom Kemp) wants more land to expand the casino, Joe is forced to take on a coaching gig before his tribal council will consider him worthy of being granted the contract.
At the low end of the acting scale are a number of minor players (including Kemp) who seem to have been plucked from the production company's accounting department instead of Central Casting. To call the acting stiff is an understatement.
Somewhere in between are the fresh-faced performers who make up the Crooked Arrows, the mostly Native American student-athletes whose fortunes the film follows and around whose rivalry with a squad of preppy white boys the story revolves. Chances are you've never heard of Tyler Hill or Aaron Printup, who portray two of the more prominent Crooked Arrows. And chances are you'll never hear from them again.
There are no breakout performances, and what star power the film is able to muster is low-wattage indeed.
The lacrosse angle aside, Crooked Arrows seems less interested in breaking ground than in following a path that has been trod a thousand times before.