'Celtic Pride': No Joy
By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
April 19, 1995
There is some enjoyment to be had from the comedy "Celtic Pride,"
although it probably helps if you're an obsessive, superstitious
sports fan—or know someone who is.
Mike O'Hara (Daniel Stern) and Jimmy Flaherty (Dan Aykroyd) have
been Boston Celtics fanatics since childhood. The days of
superstars Bird and McHale may be over, but these guys never
miss a game. Nor do they ever miss an opportunity to perform
whatever superstitious rituals occur to them. They might switch
seats in the middle of a game or make an entire section of
Celtics fans step into the aisles until the tide has turned in
Their strange devotion has paid off: The Celtics are in the NBA
Finals, a best-of-seven series, for the first time since the
1980s. But their opponents are the Utah Jazz, whose arrogant
star, Lewis Scott (Damon Wayans), poses a distinct threat to the
fans' hopes. This threat turns into reality in Game 6 when Scott
snatches victory away from Boston's clutches. With both teams now
tied with three games each, the fate of the world is down to the
final game—in Boston.
A mischievous opportunity presents itself when Mike and Jimmy
get word that Scott is celebrating the Utah victory at a local
watering hole. Outraged, the fans rush to the bar where they
hatch a goofy plan: pretend they're die-hard Jazz fans, get
Scott drunk and waste him for the next game.
They're very successful. After a hard night of drinking, the
inebriated party of three staggers drunkenly to Jimmy's
apartment and crashes. Next morning, Mike and Jimmy decide to
truss up the sleeping player and hold him until Game 7 is over.
And suddenly, they're in a situation that looks a lot like
"Is this backlash from the O.J. Simpson trial?" asks Scott when
he realizes what's going on.
Wayans is amusing as an angry, insulting hostage; and Stern and
Aykroyd make perfectly desperate losers. But the movie, written
by Judd Apatow (whose previous, amusing work on "The Larry
Sanders Show" is not in evidence here), loses its drive right
about here. Stern's family life, in which his sports-widow
(Gail O'Grady) wants him to be a good family man, is just
formulaic filler. The outcome is deeply unsatisfying. And there's
a rather unpalatable message that crime really does pay, and
that irresponsible, woman-hopping egomaniac sports figures do
finish first. This isn't basketball, it's more like a series of
unnecessary timeouts, ending with the creative equivalent of an
CELTIC PRIDE (PG-13) — Contains profanity and minor violence.
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