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Film review: Mighty Ducks, The

Published: Friday, Oct. 2 1992 12:00 a.m. MDT

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.

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