Thursday, September 15, 2011

Coach (1978)


The concept of a sexy woman becoming the coach of an all-male basketball team could have led to satire or smut, but the movie featuring this concept is a milquetoast nothing: Coach is sufficiently well-made that it’s coherent and professional-looking, but the story is so uneventful that Coach feels like a set-up for jolts that just aren’t there. Every possible opportunity for sharp jokes about the gulf between the sexes is ignored or wasted; the sports scenes are drab and trite; and the leading lady tries to retain both her clothing and her dignity, which is admirable but not exactly the best way to deliver on audience expectations given that the narrative focuses on a sexual relationship between the coach and one of her players. The plot, which matters even less than you might imagine, involves onetime Olympic champion Randy Rawlings (Cathy Lee Crosby) getting a coaching job because a school functionary mistakes the name on her résumé for a man’s name. The school’s biggest backer, Granger (Keenan Wynn), tries to fire her immediately, but Randy threatens a discrimination lawsuit, so Granger endeavors to sabotage her job performance. In this context, it makes no sense that the supposedly intelligent Randy risks her employment by hopping into the sack with eager hoops player Jack (Michael Biehn), but there you go. Offering brief respites from the main storyline are idiotic scenes like the bit in which a white student is hypnotized into thinking he’s a black hoops star. (Yes, Coach is supposed to be a comedy.) Crosby, all cheekbones and teeth, is believably athletic (she was a tennis champ before becoming an actor), but there’s a reason her career mostly comprises guest shots on grade-Z television. Yawn.

Coach: LAME

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