The inspirational sports drama is such a well-worn formula that you’d think it would be possible to master the rudimentary details of the sport. That’s only the most frustrating element in this fact based story set in 1955-56, as former University of Utah basketball player and Mormon missionary DeLyle Condie (Aaron Jakubenko) leads a group of fellow elders helping the Australian national basketball team prepare for the upcoming Olympic Games in Melbourne. The low-key drama, such as it is, comes mostly from DeLyle recovering from a broken heart, trying to convince his mission president to give the program his approval, and the usual hearts-and-minds struggles of missionary life. But there’s virtually nothing here beyond the bland uplift, including Kevin Sorbo as DeLyle’s father, who exists solely to be a wisdom-dispensing machine. And then it crumbles any time actual basketball—even the very-different-from-today world of 1950s basketball comes into play, including a climactic exhibition game between the “Mormon Yankees” and the French national team that fails to set up its big moments in any coherent way. Souls may have been saved; this story can’t be.
Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Spirit of the Game