Alex & Me Jul 18, 2019 14:06:04 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jul 18, 2019 14:06:04 GMT -5
Alex & Me (2018)
Directed by: Eric Champnella
Directed by: Eric Champnella
Soccer star Alex Morgan (left) gives Reagan (Siena Agudong) a crash-course in Alex & Me.
United States Women's National Team star Alex Morgan could charm a dog off of a meat wagon, and with that same energy, she almost entirely carries the amiable Alex & Me, which, too, serves as her acting debut. Its premise is ripe for a Disney Channel Original Movie (or "DCOM" as the cool kids say), but the film's commitment to wholesomeness and the all-too-real plight of Siena Agudong's Reagan helps it avoid predictable pitfalls. By the end, it's hard not to cheer, or at the very least nod in affirmation.
The film begins with the young, wide-eyed Reagan eager to join Crush, a girls soccer club for the most elite neighborhood players. Perhaps if her parents weren't so preoccupied with her older brother's (Matt Cornett) impending commitment to college on a lofty football scholarship, Reagan wouldn't have been spurred by not having a ride and consequently being late to tryouts. A striker on the field, she can't compete with the spoiled rotten Claire (Jessica Treska), whose father rewards her goals with cold hard cash, and as such, she doesn't make the team. And all the spots on other teams have been filled.
Reagan comes home understandably dejected, and in the process of ripping down all the soccer posters and stickers that line the walls of her room, she falls, hits her head, and wakes up to find her idol Alex Morgan in the room with her — straight from the wall-sized poster in her bedroom. A fellow striker for the Orlando Pride women's soccer team, and most recently, a co-captain for the USWNT, the laser-focused and determined Alex implores Reagan not to quit but to train even harder and seek a new opportunity to prove she's got what it takes. After all, Alex was 13 when she got into soccer, just like Reagan, and she was also cut by her first team. Alex agrees to help her get her game great and her spirits high again.
The caveat is that nobody else can see Alex Morgan but Reagan, so everyone assumes the young optimist is having conversations with herself. Reagan soon finds the Breakaways, a team of rejected players, coached by Nigel (iCarly's Jerry Trainor), and does her best to tolerate the team's obvious handicaps and shortcomings for another shot at making her dreams a reality.
Alex & Me has few surprises along the way, but it has a wonderful, resilient attitude. Rather than harp on the eccentricities of Reagan's teammates, first-time writer/director Eric Champnella retains much of the central focus on her, and how she must navigate her own path of motivation and self-reliance thanks to two busy parents. It oh-so subtly shows the way that men's sports and athletic young men get more love and attention than young women, and Reagan is caught in the middle of trying to pursue her love and being ill-equipped with just enough unfortunate circumstances to make throwing in the towel look like the obvious thing to do. But one look at Alex Morgan and her ceaseless smile, you can't disappoint a living legend.
I'm sure many of us have wanted our idols to leap off the cover of a book or a poster on our walls before to guide and direct us like an all-knowing prophet, and that's what helps make Alex & Me so likable. It's a relatable concept, and Champnella doesn't cheapen it with lame tangents. He respects both Alex and Reagan enough to let their stories and wills dominate, and at 83 minutes, it's hardly a task to watch something so spirited.
Starring: Siena Agudong, Alex Morgan, Matt Cornett, Jessica Treska, Andrew Rush, Jerry Trainor, and Ava Acres. Directed by: Eric Champnella.