The creator of ABC’s sitcom Black-ish, Kenya Barris, has a new project in the works. Barris, is currently in development to remake the 1992 sports-comedy White Men Can’t Jump, which was written and directed by sports-comedy master mind, Ron Shelton. I have no doubt that Kenya Barris could make an enjoyable movie, however, he has opted to challenge himself with this remake, and it doesn’t appear that there will be anyway to make this film nearly as good as the original from the start. No blame to him, there are a few factors that make this an incredible challenge.
Factor 1: Ron Shelton, consider his writing/directing style that includes Bull Durham, Tin Cup, Play it to the Bone, and Cobb. Shelton’s writing, as well as directing his films, gives him more creative control, and you can see this by the above average chemistry between actors in his films. Barris will have to do the same if he wants those results, however, it is possible he has something completely different in mind.
Factor 2: The cast, Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, and Rosie Perez do a whole lot with very little plot. I think most folks have forgotten the plot of the movie, it’s nothing special. Woody is a hustler, his targets are street ball games where the black guys assume he can’t play ball, then Woody wins. Snipes loses to Woody twice, then suddenly they play in a tournament together, throw in some mob guys, love, hate, broken hearts, and some friendship. Really it isn’t anything special, yet the movie is enjoyable because of the chemistry from the cast. The challenge of finding a new cast that will gel as well as the original seems impossible.
Factor 3: What audience will Barris be selling to? The original film was vulgar and in your face, loaded with shit talk, and was rated R. If the remake cuts the “fucks” for the sake of a PG-13 rating in the hopes of reaching a larger audience then this project is doomed.
Good luck Kenya Barris, you chose a tough one to remake.