Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Schultz|
|Produced by||Barry Josephson
|Screenplay by||Michael Elliot
|Story by||Michael Elliot|
|Starring||Lil' Bow Wow
|Music by||Richard Gibbs|
|Edited by||Peter Berger
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
Like Mike is a 2002 American comedy film directed by John Schultz and written by Michael Elliot and Jordan Moffet. It stars Lil' Bow Wow, Morris Chestnut, Jonathan Lipnicki, Brenda Song, Robert Forster, Crispin Glover and Eugene Levy. It was produced by NBA Productions and features many cameo appearances by NBA stars. The film was released on July 3, 2002, by 20th Century Fox.
Calvin Cambridge and his two best friends, Murph and Reg Stevens, are teenage orphans. At night they have to sell chocolate for the orphanage director, Stan Bittleman, after each home game of the Los Angeles Knights.
Calvin meets the team's coach, who is impressed by Calvin's knowledge of basketball and honesty about the chocolates, and offers Calvin tickets for the next game. Calvin obtains a pair of old sneakers from a thrift store reportedly used by a great basketball player when he was a boy. The shoes have the initials MJ on them, so Calvin thinks they belonged to Michael Jordan. Calvin then purchases ice creams for the whole team to build some team morale.
Calvin's sneakers are taken by a bully named Ox who throws them onto an overhead power line. Calvin tries to retrieve them that night in a rainstorm and gets shocked by a lightning bolt.
Calvin and his friends attend the basketball game between the Knights and the Minnesota Timberwolves. After the second quarter ends, the team's best player, Tracy Reynolds, prepares for a halftime contest. Calvin's ticket number is called and he goes one on one with Tracy. Calvin ends the contest with a dunk after bouncing the ball off the backboard. Reg and the crowd give Calvin a standing ovation. Calvin is signed to a one-day contract by the Knights. Calvin prepares for his first game with the Knights, but realizes that he is not there to play. When the Knights play the San Antonio Spurs they start losing badly and Coach Wagner decides to let Calvin play in the fourth quarter. Calvin leads a comeback against the Spurs and they win, which leads to Calvin getting a season contract. Reynolds becomes his mentor since Calvin is a minor. Calvin brings teamwork to the Knights and makes them one of the best teams in the league. Tracy starts to respect Calvin after Calvin gets himself into trouble when making sure that Tracy didn't miss curfew.
Bittleman signs a contract with the team that all of Calvin's money will go to him until Calvin is eighteen, or adopted. When the second option is about to become true, Bittleman steals Calvin's shoes and bets US$100,000 against the Knights.
After convincing Ox and his friends that Bittleman is selfish, Ox takes the shoes out of Bittleman's safe. The kids head to the arena with Calvin's sneakers. Bittleman escapes and sends goons after Calvin in a failed attempt to steal the shoes. Calvin makes it to the arena with the shoes after the 3rd quarter ends with Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors routing the Knights 80–59.
In the 4th quarter of the last regular season, Calvin is put into the game by the coach and the Knights start to make a comeback. After a pile-on towards the end of the game, Calvin's shoes are ruined with the Knights down by one point. On the last play, Calvin manages to pump fake to get Vince Carter to jump and Calvin was able to get the ball to Tracy and Tracy makes the game-winning shot to clinch the Knights their first playoff appearance.
After going back to his orphanage, Calvin and Murph get adopted by Tracy, and Reg by a different family but they keep in touch. Bittleman is missing because he doesn't have enough money to pay the bet, and the orphanage is now sponsored by the Knights.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a rating of 57%, based on 97 critics, with an average rating of 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A pleasant and innocuous diversion for kids, but adults may have trouble sitting through its predictable plotlines and schmaltz." On Metacritic, it has a score of 47 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The film opened at #5 with a 3-day gross of $12,179,420 from 2,410 theaters for an average of $5,054 per venue, and a $19,018,444 gross since its Wednesday launch. It closed with a final domestic gross of $51,432,760. Overseas the film made $10,842,020, for a total worldwide gross of $62,274,780, making it a financial success as it cost $30 million to make.