‘Uncle Drew’ Reviews: Critics Dunk on ‘Predictable’ Basketball Comedy

Uncle Drew (Credit: Lionsgate/Summit)

The reviews are in and while some critics think Uncle Drew scores, others say the hoops fantasy fouls out.

The comedy about an underdog coach (Lil Rel Howery) who recruits a team of senior-citizen players to compete in a basketball tournament, co-stars Boston Celtics player Kyrie Irving and a host of other basketball legends including Shaquille O’Neal and Lisa Leslie.

Tiffany Haddish, Mike Epps, Nick Kroll and J.B. Smoove also have roles in the film.

The comedy, directed by Charles Stone III, is based on a series of Pepsi commercials that featured Irving as an elderly playground legend.

Read MoreFilm Academy Invites 928 New Members, Just Not Kobe Bryant

The Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment film logged a 67% Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes with 36 out of 54 reviews ranking the film as fresh. The other 18 listed it as rotten.

Chicago Sun-Times reviewer, Richard Roeper, called the movie “outlandish and predictable,” but he also thought it had some redeeming qualities.

“I loved the positive energy of this film, I got a kick out of the winning performances from a cast of All-Star comic actors and All-Star, well, All-Stars — and I laughed out loud at a steady diet of inside-basketball jokes,” Roeper wrote.

IndieWire’s David Ehrlich enjoyed the movie and described it as “the best film ever adapted from a series of soft drink commercials.”

Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Nashawaty got a kick out of the comedy, although he admitted it wasn’t the best.

“It’s one of those lightweight summer diversions that’s a hundred times funnier than you expect. Which isn’t to say it’s great — just not as disposable as it could have been,” Nashawaty said.

Read MoreBET Awards Eye Los Angeles Exit After 16 Years

Other critics weren’t so kind.

Akron Beacon Journal reviewer George Thomas thought the movie was better suited for home viewing than theaters.

“Were it not for a few enjoyable moments, Uncle Drew would have been better served heading directly to a streaming service or disc,” Thomas wrote.


Jocelyn Noveck of The Associated Press described the film as “funny and clever, quick and snappy” before dropping this gem –  “Unfortunately, those minutes come during the closing credits, a sequence entertaining enough to be its own viral video.”

Uncle Drew dribbles into theaters nationwide on Friday, June 29.