Owen Gleiberman
May 14, 1998 AT 04:00 AM EDT

He Got Game

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Ray Allen, Denzel Washington, Rosario Dawson, Milla Jovovich
director
Spike Lee
author
Spike Lee
genre
Drama

We gave it a B+

In Spike Lee?s passionately ambitious new movie, Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel Washington), a convicted murderer, is let out of prison on an unofficial furlough. He has one week to convince his son, the greatest high school basketball player in the country, to attend college at the New York governor?s alma mater. Lest we have any doubt about what the stakes are, Jake?s son is named Jesus (he?s played by Milwaukee Bucks guard Ray Allen). Lee does a dazzling job of evoking the whirlwind of temptation that?s buffeting Jesus, and Washington, as the sad-sack Jake, gives a meticulous, implosive performance?though the lackadaisical desperation of his ?street? manner is never entirely convincing.

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