A big-time lawyer, and former (failed) child ice hockey star, Gordon Bombay is ordered by a court to coach a team of young misfits at that very same sport. Initially reluctant, he will come to bond with the kids and face up to the ghosts of the past.
The Bad News Bears as done with ice hockey and far less wit, this is the cosy family movie, dumb and stirring in that way every sports-movie ends up being, that invented a genuine hockey team called The Mighty Ducks. That, though, is another story, the one here does everything by rote and with the minimum of personality — there is no sense that the film ever exists in any world but the bloated consumerist Planet Disney (feel the merchandising).
Emilio Estevez’s truculent yuppie is a kid-hater (tick), forced by community service to work with kids (tick), and slowly their quirky-cute-honest ways will bring him round to stir him into being a real coach (tick). Although, we mustn’t forget that wining isn’t everything, it’s all about feeling good about yourself or somesuch flatulent platitude for kids of every disposition.
Estevez works hard but is too bland an actor to define his personality against the gaggle of brats, themselves the usual blather of geeks, norms, blacks and a fat one who will go in goal. To show just how safe the formula has become since the caustic styles of The Bad News Bears’ ribald seventies, where Walter Matthau’s slothful coach was an alcoholic pool-cleaner, Estevez’s clean-cut equivalent is a workaholic lawyer. Elsewhere the same old tricks work as they always do, building up a minor feelgood surge for the big final (enough to fuel several terrible sequels) but there’s no escaping this hollow enterprise is more duck than mighty.
As a light family sports feel-good this works but don't look for anything more..