(Release Info London schedule; July 6th, 2018, Cineworld, Leicester Square)
After draining his life savings to enter a team in 'The Rucker Classic Street Ball Tournament' in Harlem, Dax Winslow (Lil Rel Howery) is dealt a series of unfortunate setbacks, including losing his team to his longtime rival Mookie Bass (Nick Kroll). Desperate to win the tournament and the cash prize, Dax stumbles upon the man, the myth, the legend Uncle Drew (Kyrie Irving) and convinces him to return to the court one more time. The two men embark on a road trip to round up Drew's old basketball squad and prove that a group of seniors can still win the big one.
Dax Winslow is the man who unexpectedly brings Uncle Drew back to the court. He proves to be both Drew’s comic foil and true friend. Though always a diehard basketball fanatic, Dax has never had the chance to really feel a part of the game. Ever since missing his one chance to hit a winning shot as a kid, he’s been hustling to prove his worth, nearly forgetting why he wanted that success in the first place. He thought he was on the hunt for the next young hotshot, only to find himself trying to wrangle a limping, if also swaggering, team of guys who haven’t rebounded since the 70s. Dax is a young man searching for family. He doesn’t see it coming, but in the course of putting together this team of old guys to play at 'The Rucker Tournament', he finds that. They teach him some things about what matters. It’s Dax who shows how everybody ends up gaining something from the mix of new and old school. Dax defies stereotypes as a protagonist. He's this guy who isn’t that cool, who’s a little nerdy, who's kind of sweet and doesn’t have all the answers. Dax is an orphan, so from the start, basketball is his way of finding friends and family. He just forgets how important that's until he meets Uncle Drew. He’s felt unappreciated, betrayed and unable to trust anybody. He makes his life about the hustle and being in it for himself.
At first, he’s skeptical Uncle Drew is even real, let alone even the longest shot contender all these years later. When guys in the barbershop talk about Uncle Drew, Dax doesn’t believe any of it. So when he finally meets Uncle Drew it's like seeing 'Santa Claus' or the 'Easter Bunny' in person. But as Dax and Uncle Drew set out on a trek to locate his old team, their cross-generational friction leads to a deeper connection and Dax comes to feel needed as he never has before. At first, Dax and Drew are just two strangers in a van. They’re having all this back-and-forth about music and basketball and not agreeing on anything. But by the time they get to Harlem, Dax realizes he's experiencing a feeling he always wanted, the feeling of family. He’s now surrounded by people who actually love him for being himself. Once the competition starts at 'The Rucker Tournament', Dax realizes something different is on the line than what he imagined. More than a win or the cash, what matters now is that he can’t to let down his friends. It’s become about so much more than money for him. He has the chance to gain the respect and affection he always wanted. Dax is unsure of himself and Uncle Drew matter-of-factly tells him, don’t need you to be great all the time, youngblood, just need you to be great one time.
Big Fella (Shaquille O’Neal) is the giant who brings power to the team, he’s the anchor. In the beginning Big Fella seems full of anger but then he shows us a guy who he can break dance and has a heart as gigantic as he's. Big Fella is a very conscious, focused individual, but also one with a grudge. Uncle Drew did something to upset him long ago, and Big Fella has not forgotten. Yet, he's also understanding and caring, and he's a team player who will do whatever is necessary for the team to win. Wilbur 'Lights' Wallace (Reggie Miller), in his heyday, was one of the greatest gunslinger shooters of his time. As father time caught up to him, his eyesight went, but he refuses to admit it. Everyone around him knows that he’s legally blind, but in his mind he thinks he’s making every shot. Lights may be a little hazy, but he's not out of touch. He’s still the cool guy in this geriatric crowd, dressing to be noticed. He wears Capri shorts, pastel colors, Kangol fedora hats, high white socks and fresh white Reeboks. 'Lights' is good to go all the time. He even has a gold tooth rocking.
Boots (Nate Robinson) is the team’s silent scorer with a sneaker superstition. Uncle Drew might find his old friend sitting wordlessly in a retirement home, but Drew knows the brilliant old Boots is still in there and it’s just a matter of reigniting his spirit. Having given up basketball, Boots thought he was done with life. Then, Uncle Drew and Dax arrive to change his fate. Finally, his gang is back together and life has meaning and purpose again. Boots still doesn’t say much, but he’s the guy you want on your team. Boots keeps everybody going. When he’s playing, it’s always a show of dunks and high-flying stuff. Boots is like this beautiful tree that’s grown over centuries, with his massive hair, the beard and just the age in his face. But you also feel his wisdom, and the way Nate plays him, you really believe him as Boots comes more alive and becomes indispensable.
Preacher (Chris Webber) has replaced his basketball with 'The Good Book Of The Lord'. Preacher is a cross between Al Sharpton and James Brown, with that kind of power of oration. He's a guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve. He's the leader of the crew spiritually, but he's also the wildest member at one time so everyone respects how he has learned to stick to discipline. Betty Lou (Lisa Leslie) is Preacher’s no-nonsense wife, who's in hot pursuit of him all the way to 'The Rucker'. She wears the pants in Preacher’s household. There's her fierce, take-no-prisoners persona; and her skepticism about letting Preacher return to basketball with all it's temptations. Betty Lou is feisty, independent and she doesn't take any mess. She's bossy and she likes to be in control but, she's also very in love with her husband and she wants what's best for him. She just wants to make sure Preacher stays on a positive path.
When Casper (Aaron Gordon) switches teams, Dax is left in the lurch, which ultimately leads to his fateful search for Uncle Drew. Casper is the cocky, arrogant, young up-and-comer who doesn’t respect those who paved the way before him. He doesn’t understand what it means to be a team player; he just wants to win. Mookie Bass is the villain of the movie. Ever since Mookie blocked Dax’s shot in a tournament final as kids, Mookie has viewed Dax as the secret source of his power. In Mookie’s mind, he sees the two of them as being like Bird and Magic, two iconic rivals, who feed off. He's obsessed with Dax because it makes him feel big, whose whole agenda is to constantly get energy from defeating this person. Maya (Erica Ash) is , Boot's loving, levelheaded granddaughter who joins the road trip to keep tabs on her grandfather, but starts to have feelings for Dax in spite of herself. Maya is the voice of reason in this band of merry men. She becomes just one of the guys on this cross-country road trip, but with her own voice.
The greatest players in the world have played on 'The Rucker Court'. If they hadn’t played there, 'The Rucker' dates back to the 1940s when a playground director and teacher named Holcombe Rucker set out to uplift kids in Harlem by combining sports with education. Rucker created a series of summer youth leagues that gave local kids a chance to shine. His motto each one, teach one, became as famous as he did, reflecting his belief that by passing on the fundamentals of what you learn to others, you grow a stronger community. Through his tournaments, Rucker helped hundreds to attain college scholarships that changed their lives. In 1956, 'The Tournament' gained steam when it began hosting pro and semi-pro players in the off- season. The park would soon become the sacred mecca of a faster, wilder street version of the game, a liberating place where ballplayers could create, experiment and display their best. 'The Rucker' is the most iconic stage in the sport. It's a great equalizer because it doesn’t matter what color you're, how old you're, male, female, if you can play, you’re respected. What makes streetball unique is there’s less rigidity and when you lose some of that formality you get more fun, you get more theatre. Everyone essentially has courtside seats in a place like 'Rucker', so the crowd is interacting in real time with these amazing plays they’re seeing. It’s much more communal you also get a lot of vibrant showmanship.
In the spring of 2012 audiences first met the unforgettable Uncle Drew, a rickety-looking, white-haired, older gentleman who rose gingerly from a park bench to school a bunch of youngblood ballers in a fiercely competitive pick-up game. Uncle Drew is the real deal, a lost legend from another time whose love of the game and courage to keep driving the ball against the odds had apparently never faded over the decades. On the contrary, his skill had only been sharpened with a cantankerous wisdom. His appeal was palpable. The documentary style Pepsi campaign quickly went viral. As it turned out, Uncle Drew is an old legend being played by a vibrant, young legend. Uncle Drew’s 'YouTube' videos have been viewed over 100 million times. After four webisodes people still wanted to see and to know more. Who was this trash-talking, proud old baller with so much game? What had happened to him? What drove him to keep playing in the park? And what would he do with one last shot at greatness? The idea is to take the character on a larger journey that, like the webisodes, would be as enjoyable and moving for audiences who are passionate about basketball as for audiences who wouldn’t know a foul from an alley-oop.
The film explores Drew’s fascinating life history and supernatural skills but take him on a comedic adventure to reunite his old teammates into a true family, even if they all appear more likely to compete for the early bird special than New York’s most illustrious streetball tournament. This movie is so special that it maintains the authenticity of how sports can bring people together around something they love. The basketball’s great, the comedy’s hilarious, but the message of family behind the story is even more awesome. In the film, Uncle Drew is called back into action by Dax , a young man who has been on a life-long losing streak and at first doesn’t believe Uncle Drew is any more than an urban legend But once he finds Uncle Drew; and joins forces with him to assemble a last-minute squad for 'The Rucker Classic', the Harlem tournament where countless basketball legends made their names, Dax learns that Uncle Drew has much more to give than just buckets. For Uncle Drew, this journey is about reconciling the mistakes he’s made in his life and with his teammates. Uncle Drew may have lost his way but now it’s time for him to put the team back together and find his purpose again. It’s a wild journey, but in the end, he and Dax and his long-lost friends become a true family, and it’s a beautiful thing.
You don’t stop playing because you get old. You get old because you stop playing. While high humor, family, friendship and the dream of returning to the Rucker drive "Uncle Drew", it's equally important to capture some visceral basketball action with his unprecedented cast of hoop legends. To get to the heart of the beauty, the flow and the flying spirit of the game; from simple hand-offs to 3-point miracle shots. With all that's going on in this movie, the film focuses on the relationships, the funny dialogue between characters and the basketball. Luckily, the character-driven script really lent itself to that which is exciting. Dax and Uncle Drew’s generational gap might be obvious in their contrasting clothes, style, music and banter, but it’s beneath the skin that they ultimately connect. “Uncle Drew" shows you that no matter your age, the prime of your life is right now. "Uncle Drew" reminds us that wherever you're at, you can still deliver. He encourages us to never quit doing what we love. What makes "Uncle Drew" timeless is that he devotes himself to what he loves. This movie will be relatable to everyone. It pays homage to Uncle Drew’s love of basketball, but at heart it’s a story about staying true to the things and the people you love most.