Director Gina Prince-Bythewood, a former college athlete, puts a spin on this one-on-one tale of, as the title says, Love and Basketball. Sanaa Lathan (The Best Man) is the fiercely driven, hot-tempered Monica, a tomboy who gives her all for basketball. Omar Epps is Quincy, an NBA player's son who has pro dreams of his own. Next-door neighbours since first grade, they start as rivals (she flabbergasts the boy by outplaying him in a game of driveway pickup) and age into best friends and lovers. The romantic complications follow a familiar game plan, but the film throws... a fascinating spotlight onto the contrast between men's and women's basketball. While Quincy plays college ball on huge courts to cheering, sold-out crowds, we see Monica's sweat, tears and sheer physical dedication in front of tiny audiences in small gyms and second-rate auditoriums. The story is pointedly set in the late 1980s, years before the establishment of the WNBA, so Monica's prospects for pro ball lie exclusively in Europe, while Quincy steps into the pros at home. It's a pleasure to see a character as passionate and fully developed as Monica, and Lathan gives a fiery portrayal (she had never played ball before the film, but you'd never tell from her performance). Prince-Bythewood favours her struggle over Quincy's and opens our eyes to her unique challenges with a sharp, savvy contrast. Alfre Woodard co-stars as Monica's harping mother (always trying to get her to be more ladylike) and Dennis Haysbert is Quincy's philandering father. Hoops fan Spike Lee produced. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com [show more]
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. In 1981 in L.A., Monica moves in next door to Quincy. They're 11, and both want to play in the NBA, just like Quincy's dad. Their love-hate relationship lasts into high school, with Monica's edge and Quincy's top-dog attitude separating them, except when Quincy's parents argue and he climbs through Monica's window to sleep on the floor. As high school ends, they come together as a couple, but within a year, with both of them playing ball at USC, Quincy's relationship with his father takes an ugly turn, and it leads to a break up with Monica. Some years later, their pro careers at a crossroads, they meet again. It's time for a final game of one-on-one with high stakes.