Kurt Warner’s incredible true story, “American Underdog”, may not be a classic sports movie, but it has managed to inspire millions of people to go and watch the film. The audience is paying to watch it, and some critics are even saying that it’s a movie worth seeing.
American Underdog is a biopic that unfolds the inspirational story of Kurt Warner. His unlikely rise from struggling, undrafted grocery store worker and a decent family man to star NFL quarterback, winning a Super Bowl and reaching the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Warner spends most of his time finding a perfect team in the film that will agree with his assessment. He keeps on insisting that “it is my time”.
He was a star player at the University of Northern Iowa. However, as a Division I-AA school, his alma mater was too far down on the pecking order for any pro team to consider him playing or giving him a try-out.
He then persevered years ago; his saga would have been considered a testament to the antique virtues of pluck and grit. He finally gets a try-out with the Green Bay Packers, which he eventually blows.
In his wake of this failure, he is reduced to taking up a minimum wage job stocking supermarket shelves while dreaming of seeing his image on a box of Wheaties.
The biopic is a faith-based film, and it also explores the different shades of its main protagonist Kurt Warner.
With her harrowing backstory, Warner finds emotional support with Brenda Meoni, a divorced former Marine corporal. Her younger son Zack is blind because his abusive father dropped him on his head. The film also features Warner’s relationship with his wife, Brenda, and her children.
Researching from Warner’s memoir “All Things Possible,” screenwriter David Aaron Cohen and the director duo brothers Andrew and Jon Erwin don’t make their protagonist’s issues very clear but merely hint at problems with self-discipline and impulse control.
Kurt Warner’s well-publicized evangelical beliefs take a back seat to the game’s mechanics, and he struggles.
Indeed, there must have been some faith crises, but they’re reduced to a single line:
“I wonder why God gave me a dream that will never come true because that’s just cruel. You know?”
Warner’s three seasons in arena football basically focus on fast gameplay and raw power more than strategy. He at least kept his throwing arm in shape, and it gave him an appreciation for making quick on-field decisions.
He finally got the most awaited big chance when the St. Louis Rams offered him a contract. At that time, the starting quarterback was injured, and the rest of the story falls into fairy-tale come proper mode.
The script-writer avoids a preachy tone while keeping things generally wholesome and thus acceptable for a broad audience.
“This is the exact story we wanted to tell, and what I believe will impact audiences; people should be ready to step into new and bigger things and not to allow their circumstances to define them,” Kurt Warner said.
Zachary Levi, who portrays the character of Kurt Warner in the movie, said,
“I knew Kurt’s story. I saw it in real-time when I was a slightly younger man, and he was a slightly younger man—remembering where I was when I was watching him play that Super Bowl. And now transporting myself into his actual shoes and being him. And then between takes on the side-lines playing catch with Kurt Warner on set, like all of that was crazy weird.”
The critics love this piece of work.
Matt Zoller Seitz stated that the movie is about virtue, commitment and faith. The film shows that if one possesses and holds the qualities diligently, then good things will happen to that person, if not immediately, then eventually.
Benjamin Hochman, a sports journalist, said that this movie isn’t exactly a sports movie, but it’s still a sports movie worth seeing. He also said that the film also influences everyone by showing how a strong teammate can make the whole team stronger.