Editors' pick

Invincible

Invincible movie poster
MPAA rating: PG
Genre: Drama
Based on a true story, Mark Wahlberg stars as a Philadelphia Eagles fan who wins a slot on the team's roster.
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks
Director: Ericson Core
Running time: 1:39
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Editorial Review

Who among us doesn't have a soft spot for real-life sports stories reenacted by our most lovable Hollywood stars? Kurt Russell as the 1980 Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks? Oh, yeah. Denzel Washington as the legendary Virginia high school football coach Herman Boone? You bet. Dennis Quaid as high school coach turned major league baseball player Jimmy Morris? I'm so there.

All three of those movies -- "Miracle," "Remember the Titans" and "The Rookie" -- are invoked, if not entirely successfully, in "Invincible." Mark Wahlberg stars as Vince Papale, who in 1976 joined hundreds of Philadelphia Eagles fans in a publicity stunt of an open tryout; no one was more surprised than Papale himself when he made the cut. "Invincible" tells Papale's story without frills, contextualizing his achievement in 1970s Philly, whose economic and social woes were only magnified by its football team's crummy record.

There's too much slow-mo and too many music cues, but there's a low-key buzz to Wahlberg's scenes with Greg Kinnear, who plays newcomer coach Dick Vermeil. Wahlberg, delivering a shy, emotionally muffled performance, is nevertheless sympathetic in what may be the only role in movie history where the real-life guy was better-looking than the star playing him.

-- Ann Hornaday (Aug. 25, 2006)

Contains sports action and mild profanity.