It’s time to look at a film with an unlikable lead. It’s a shame that the film is inclined to spend more time on the drama than the actual Football plot. Had it been the other way around then I think this title could have had some real promise. After all, who doesn’t want to enjoy seeing the Saints win a Super Bowl? There aren’t exactly a whole lot of football films after all so this is just wasting a slot. Unfortunately there isn’t much to like in this film.
The main character is a guy named Cat. He’s a washed up old quarterback who used to be good, but isn’t anymore. He doesn’t have the healthy diet that Brady possesses, nor does he have the integrity to try and improve his game. As a result, instead of heading to yet another Super Bowl he can’t seem to beat anyone. Cat decides to take his frustrations out on the backup quarterback and also starts cheating on his wife. Cat is determined to see how far he can push everyone until they push back. Well…he may just get his wish when the Cowboys roll into town. Jerry Jones and his team aren’t about to allow any of this foolishness so Cat needs to get his head in the game or it could be curtains for him.
From the start you get the feeling that this film isn’t going to be particularly good since Cat is just never on the up and up. The party scene where he gets tempted to cheat is very early on. Unlike some protagonists who will at least pretend to restrain themselves Cat is the one flirting from the start. He’s just a distasteful character who wrecks everyone’s lives. Even the person he went on the rebound with is quickly ditched as Cat won’t stay with anyone for long. He also tries to mess things up at his wife’s job since he begins to become jealous of her success as well.
The guy is very stubborn and the problem is that he doesn’t want to work on improving his skills either. This leads to a dilemma as you can’t get better without practice and Cat refuses to put in the work. There’s no way that I can be sympathetic to a character like that. It’s simply not happening. The worst scene in the film is certainly when Cat breaks all of his wife’s projects and gets away with a whole lot. The wife probably should have just left by that point. He’s clearly insane.
What is just as bad as this lead is the fact that everyone just puts up with it. The coach tells Cat that he believes in him, but there’s no reason that he should. He should simply bench him and have the backup play. Why let this Quarterback undermine you at every turn and continue to play? It just doesn’t make any kind of sense to me. The coach tries to justify this by saying that the backup isn’t ready but it should beat the alternative. It also shouldn’t have come to this.
During the film we get a lot of flashbacks about how good Cat was when he first started. That’s fine and all, but in literally the first play of his career as a starter he ignores the coach and changes up the play so he can do whatever he wants. He even insults his fellow players and threatens them. Why would the coach allow that at the start? There’s no reason to allow for that to a rookie. The whole film just never feels realistic and without anyone to root for the whole movie suffers.
Naturally most of his teammates fled the league to get high paying jobs which is a good move. At least they weren’t going to just stand around and get insulted the whole time. Of course one of them ends up being pretty iffy and hosts dodgy parties as this kind of film can’t resist scenes like that. In case you couldn’t guess the romance here is also pretty terrible as well. With sub-par writing at work this was basically unavoidable though. The film isn’t too long so at least it doesn’t drag as much as it could have, but that’s barely even a silver lining at this point.
It’s also hard to know where to start when talking about how to fix the film. You’d pretty much have to redo it from the ground up and by that point I always wonder whether that even counts as fixing it. It’s just a totally different experience in a case like this. Still, the first thing you’d have to do is bring in a completely different main character. That could help I suppose and then give the actual football games more screen time. Follow those two key elements and you can probably salvage this film, but it’ll be tough.
Overall, Number One is a film that I highly recommend avoiding. It’s a terrible football movie and the main reason for that is due to the sport not playing a big focus at all. It’s all just about how bad Cat has become over the years and even the plot is ruined when we find out via flashbacks that he’s always been a nasty character. The film can’t even keep its own plot straight. Naturally you’ll be rooting for the Cowboys to win the final game. America’s Team can’t lose and at least they brought the film to a quick end.