Vince Papale does the impossible, and makes the Philadelphia Eagles after attending an open tryout. The bartender from South Philadelphia survive’s training camp, and lives his dream of playing for the hometown team.
I was worried that Disney attempting to depict the fans of Philly was a disaster waiting to happen. An opening scene in the notorious 700 level at Veteran’s Stadium without even the sister of the F-bomb — freakin’ — being dropped only heightened my concern. Some weak male bonding scenes followed, including pick-up games with referees, but nothing disastrous.
Action sequences were surprisingly well done, but there were too many slow motion shots of Papale (Mark Wahlburg). The cold shoulder treatment Papale got from the NFL vets was done well, too. There were also plenty of funny moments during the open tryouts.
There was also a solid potrayel of Papale feeling some pressure, or possibly guilt, as he made even 1970s NFL money while his buddies and family struggled to make ends meet. I’ve heard some suggest that the love interest and relationship with his father were overplayed, but I thought they were fine, especially for a Disney film. The father telling his son he was his new favorite Eagle was a nice moment, and the girlfriend sending him a New York Giants shirt while he was at camp was cute.
Of course, I kept wondering what had really occurred versus when the literary license was put to use. There’s no way Papale called an audible on the climactic play. I also wanted to know more about why Dick Vermeil was hired late in the off-season and what really prompted the open tryouts. (Plenty of NFL teams stink, and don’t hold open tryouts). What I could’ve done without was one more reference to Philly fans booing Santa.
If you’re looking for a feel-good film, Invincible is worth watching. If you’re an Eagles fan, this is our Rudy, and you can’t ask for more.