A soft, old-fashioned Disney take on "The Bad News Bears," "The Mighty Ducks" is a poorly directed and utterly predictable yarn aimed at the small fry, who will probably be entertained by its simplicity. Parents, however, are likely to be snoozing by the 15-minute mark.
Emilio Estevez stars as an arrogant yuppie lawyer who doesn't care about his clients he just cares about winning. Estevez also harbors angst over a childhood trauma, when he lost the big Pee-Wee hockey game of his youth and his nasty coach (Lane Smith) called him a loser.
So, naturally, Estevez gets picked up for drunken driving, is sentenced to community service . . . and soon finds himself coaching a Pee-Wee Hockey team of heart-of-gold hoodlums. Ultimately, against all odds, he takes his ragtag team to the championship playoffs and finds himself up against you guessed it his old coach, Lane Smith. (Did I mention he gets romantic with the single mother of a troubled kid?)
The message here is obvious, the kids are cute (though hardly believable as inner-city toughs) and some of the comedy scenes work. (Though many more fall flat.) And the hockey games are well-choreographed (the film is better on the ice than in exploring its characters). That's probably enough for the primary target audience primary being the operative word here.
"The Mighty Ducks" is rated PG but the violence, profanity and vulgarity here are tame.