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|
|Box office||$62.3 million|
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.
The film is about a trio of kids who live in an orphanage. They are best friends, enjoy playing basketball, and watching NBA games on television. They are taken by Stan Bittleman, the awkward orphanage director (Crispin Glover) to sell chocolates after each of the fictional Los Angeles Knights' home games.
One night after a game, 13-year-old Calvin Cambridge (Lil' Bow Wow) meets the team's good-natured coach, Coach Wagner (Robert Forster) who is impressed by his knowledge of basketball and honesty about the chocolates he sells, and offers him tickets for the next game. He obtains a pair of old shoes (from a Salvation Army Thrift Store) that had reportedly been used by a great basketball player of the past. They have the initials MJ written on the underside of their tongues, so naturally, he thinks they once belonged to Michael Jordan.
The shoes are taken by an orphanage bully named Ox (Jesse Plemons) who throws them onto an overhead power line. Calvin tries to retrieve them that night in a thunderstorm so he can get them while Ox is not around and gets shocked by lightning. Between the shoes and the shock, he acquires NBA superstar level basketball talent.
Calvin and his friends then attend the home game between the Knights and the Minnesota Timberwolves that they had tickets for, and his ticket number is chosen at a halftime contest in which the winner would face the Knights star player, and incidentally, Calvin's idol, Tracy Reynolds (Morris Chestnut), one on one. After he makes three impressive scores on Tracy, including a dunk after bouncing the ball off the backboard, team manager Frank Bernard (Eugene Levy) and Coach Wagner sign him to a one day contract by the Knights. He comes into that game in the fourth quarter and leads a comeback against the San Antonio Spurs in which he dunked on their future Hall of Fame center David Robinson and scored 27 points. That gave the Knights an unexpected win, which leads to him getting a season contract. He brought teamwork to the struggling Knights and made them one of the best teams in the league.
Calvin's life then follows a path of experiencing luxury for the first time while on the road and going back to his orphanage home when the team isn't traveling. He gets to see hotels and places he never imagined could exist, and Coach Wagner assigns Tracy as Calvin's mentor while on the road, a decision that greatly annoys him. Calvin then starts taking all the headlines and becoming the talk all around the sports media and the NBA.
While this is all happening, Calvin begins to figure out that all he wants is really a family, and he starts to view Tracy as a potential father figure as opposed to his idol. They slowly begin to develop a father-son relationship, although their relationship is sometimes challenged by the daily situations that a thirteen-year-old orphan and a single man with no kids might have to face and Tracy's attitude toward him. Although in a win over the Seattle SuperSonics, their star point guard, Gary Payton, while guarding Calvin, tackled him, and said to him, "Now you know what it feels like to be in The Glove's hands", and Calvin responded to him by saying it feels more like a mitten and Payton and Cambridge got into an argument as Payton got hit with a technical foul after shoving Calvin and Tracy was the one protecting him the most as they were being separated.
Meanwhile, back home, Stan signs a contract with the team that says that all of Calvin's money will go to him instead until he's eighteen, or adopted although Coach Wagner is highly suspicious of Stan's intentions. When the second option is about to become true, Stan decides to steal Calvin's shoes and places a bet with a group of mobsters for US$100,000.00 against the Knights.
After negotiating with Ox and his friends about how selfish Stan really is, Calvin is able to subdue him and retrieve his shoes by Ox opening Stan's safe which was where he kept them and Ox gave them back to Calvin. However Stan manages to send several goons after him in a failed attempt to steal them. He makes it to the arena with them after the third quarter ended with the Toronto Raptors routing the Knights 80-59.
Calvin is reluctantly put into the game by Coach Wagner and the Knights start to make a comeback after Tracy told him that they wouldn't have been fighting for a playoff spot if it weren't for him and his teammates agreed that if they will have any chance of making a comeback, they will need Calvin. However after a pile-on towards the end of the game, his shoes are accidentally ruined with the Knights down by one point. He was unable to do what he used to do as he tried the shake-and-bake on Vince Carter and had it stripped although he got it back. Then Vince blocked his shot and it went out to Tracy who got it and passed it back to him. Tracy was telling him he can do it after finding out it was really his shoes that made him play so well, but he said he can't. Then, he fakes out Vince who jumped over him, who helped the Knights make the playoffs for the first time in their franchise history after getting the assist on Tracy's game winning shot, but without the magic shoes, he decides to retire and announces that the last game of the regular season will be his last. After winning their last season game, he then does so, a decision that saddens him, Tracy, and Coach Wagner.
However, after going back to the orphanage, Tracy surprises Calvin with the news that he wants to adopt him. Not wanting to leave Murph behind, Calvin agrees to the adoption under the condition that Tracy adopts him too calling it "2 for 1 Orphan Day". Reg is adopted by a different family but keeps in touch with the boys. It's also revealed that Stan is missing (either he is in hiding, or has been killed by the mobsters) because he doesn't have the money for the bet and the orphanage is now under care of the Knights.
- Lil' Bow Wow as Calvin Cambridge
- Jonathan Lipnicki as Murph
- Brenda Song as Reg Stevens
- Morris Chestnut as Tracy Reynolds
- Eugene Levy as Frank Bernard
- Crispin Glover as Stan Bittleman
- Jesse Plemons as Ox
- Robert Forster as Coach Wagner
- Julius Ritter as Marlon
- Anne Meara as Sister Theresa
- Fred Armisen as New Age Dad
- Julie Brown as New Age Mom
- Vanessa Williams as Pharmacist
- Jimmy Kimmel as Client in Commercial
- John Marshall Jones as NBA Player
- Vince Carter as Himself
- Michael Finley as Himself
- Steve Francis as himself
- Allen Iverson as Himself
- Jason Kidd as Himself
- Alonzo Mourning as Himself
- Tracy McGrady as Himself
- Steve Nash as Himself
- Dirk Nowitzki as Himself
- Gary Payton as Himself
- Ahmad Rashad as Himself
- David Robinson as Himself
- Reggie Theus as Himself
- Rasheed Wallace as Himself
- Chris Webber as Himself
- Tom Tolbert as himself
- Hannah Storm as Herself
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.