In theaters March 10


After showing unsportsman-like conduct with basketball coach Phil Perretti (Ernie Hudson), his superior, Assistant coach Marcus (Woody Harrelson) gets a DUI, losing his job and eliminating any chance of working in the NBA.

At his court hearing, Marcus is given a choice, jail time or 90 days of community service – he takes the community service.

What Marcus doesn’t realize is that his community service involves coaching a team of adults with intellectual disabilities.

As Marcus begins to coach his team, he begins to build relationships with his players, discovering that these connections are more important than his career.


“Champions” is a story based upon the Spanish film ‘Campeones’ by Javier Fesser and is a perfect feel-good film.

Marcus is a self-centered person but knows how to coach basketball. As he arrives to start his community service, he immediately finds a rag-tag group of players who view their team with a sense of pride.

Cody (Ashton Gunning) is in a band, but also the teams 3-point ace. Showtime (Bradley Edens) only shoots backwards and is an expert at celebrations. Cosentino (Madison Tevlin) is the only woman on the team and rules the roost. Craig (Matthew Von Der Ahe) is more than willing to tout his exploits with his girlfriend(s). Benny (James Day Keith) toils as a dishwasher at a local restaurant, but his boss is deaf to Benny’s requests to get off for games. Darius (Joshua Felder) is a basketball star but refuses to play for Marcus. Johnny (Kevin Innucci) is a player dedicated to his sport, but even more so to his sister and mother.

As Marcus works with his players, he also works on finding his next gig, hopefully in the NBA, while his players work hard just to get to games and then win them to qualify for the national tournament.

Director Bobby Farrelly brings us a charming underdog tale. This story has been told before, but often in these films it’s the journey, not the destination that matters.

The film starts a bit slowly setting up Harrelson’s Marcus as an unlikeable person and as we meet his new team, it seemed like this film was destined to jump the track. However, it doesn’t take long for this cast of true characters to fully charm our socks off. Using a combination of cute and funny peculiarities to help define these distinctive personalities along with a heartfelt story of respect, dignity and love, this film will fully win viewers over.

Adding a perfect little twist at the end which spoils the predictable nature of the climax, and you have a skillful completion of Marcus’ transformation.

The strength of this film is obviously its cast. It is evident that Harrelson enjoyed working with his co-stars and they with him. These charming actors create a feel-good aura throughout and help offer moviegoers a wonderful alternative to almost every other film out there.

“Champions” is a smile-heavy, laugh-filled charmer worthy of your hard-earned money as Marcus learns that building a career should be secondary to building a life through relationships.