There are a few different ways to approach the first trailer for Doug Dearth’s Underdogs – there are certainly the obvious Friday Night Lights comparisons (while the film is set in Ohio, there is little doubt the game is just as important there as it is in Texas), there’s the true-life element, there’s Joe Namath just standing around like he’s not Joe Namath, there are even plenty of Cutting Edge flashbacks to remind viewers why they love D.B. Sweeney (if you need help coming back from sports hell, he’s still your dude), but the most striking bit is a buried one. That’s Natalie Imbruglia shaking her hair and her hand in the stands (presumably at Sweeney) for just a second, smack in the middle of the trailer. Yes, Natalie Imbruglia, Aussie pop star and purveyor of nineties earworm “Torn.” If she’s making a move to be the Connie Britton to Sweeney’s Kyle Chandler in the new film, we’ll allow it.
The film is billed as an “inspirational” tale about football and family and what happens when both of those things aren’t exactly up to snuff. Sweeney stars as a tough luck coach who takes on a losing team and applies some offbeat methods to picking players and training them (sure, sure, you’ve heard this one before – but have you heard it when it features criminals?). There’s all sorts of drama here, from a quarterback who doesn’t seem able to live up to his potential, a romantic entanglement with a rival team’s cheerleader, a disappointed dad, some sort of corporate espionage, and hair-shaking Imbruglia trying to crack open Sweeney’s hard heart. Underdogs is the kitchen sink of sports films – it has everything. It also sounds like just about the perfect thing to queue up on the television during the holidays, when your own family is making you nuts (and perhaps after your annual touch football game goes horribly awry). And, you know, bonus hair-shaking.
Put down your Friday Night Lights DVDs and check out the first trailer for Underdogs after the break.
Underdogs will open in theaters on November 1st, with a VOD rollout following on November 5th.