SYNOPSIS: Denzel Washington stars as a no-nonsense football coach hired to whip into shape a Virginia high school team that has just been racially integrated. (The film is set in 1971.) As the spot eagerly proclaims, the movie is "based on a true story."
TRAILER STYLE: Heroic impressionism. As heart-swelling music plays, a familiar sports-morality tale is played out via quick-cut scenes of football players overcoming their differences.
WHAT THE STUDIO WANTS YOU TO THINK OF: Hoosiers meets Stand by Me (with a healthy dose of Varsity Blues)
WHAT THE STUDIO DOESN'T WANT YOU TO THINK OF: A slightly more serious Wildcats
PREFAB CATCHPHRASE: "We're going to change the way we run. We're going to change the way we block. We're going to change the way we win!"
BOTTOM LINE: Formulaic, manipulative, predictable. The football scenes boast that exaggerated Hollywood style: Every block is a thunderous collision resulting in someone getting flipped head over heels. And the standard-issue theme about the redemptive power of sports could appeal only to the hopelessly romantic and the corniest of sports fans. In other words, we can't wait.