Just like tennis, there are some hits and misses in this HBO short sports mockumentary but I overall do still feel that this was a pretty well made, fun and good watch.

Mockumentaries can often be fun to watch, as long as you play by certain rules. This shorts breaks some of those rules though. which prevents it from ever turning into a truly great- and absolute must-see. Thing that somewhat bothered me at times was how it took things a bit too far at times. And I'm purely talking about the comedy aspects here. At times it felt far too forced, which made things both unconvincing as well as somewhat awkward at times. The movie also truly didn't need any of that. It was a good and fun mockumentary when it was being subtle with things. Yes, the movie was more fun when it felt authentic, as opposed to when it felt more like a silly comedy.

Having said that, no there isn't much more negative to say about this movie. It's simply a too good, too well made and too fun little, short, movie for that, that provides quite a few laughs. It features a pretty entertaining concept involving fictional tennis players and the rivalry amongst them. It uses 'archive' footage as well as well as interviews with those who had the honor of being around Aaron Williams and Charles Poole. The fictional tennis players are all obviously based upon real-life tennis players from the past and you don't have to be a big tennis-fan to see and realize this. Sure, they are some over-the-top characters, like they've come straight out of a Will Ferrell sports comedy but it works.

Reason why it works is unquestionably due to the actors that all show up in this movie. The main characters are played by Andy Samberg and Kit Harington while also actors such as Will Forte, Fred Armisen, Lena Dunham, Mary Steenburgen and Michael Sheen show up in bit parts. I especially liked Michael Sheen in his role as sports talk-show host and it also was pretty ironic how John McEnroe as himself gave the best second best acting performance of the movie.

Maybe it's true though that the mockumentary should have focused more on one main aspects, instead of constantly taking its 'story' everywhere. It all feels a bit too random at parts and it isn't always clear what this mockumentary is actually trying to do or say with its story. At times it feels like it's far too concerned with making you laugh and not enough with trying to tell you a decent story as well. Perhaps it's also all due to the fact that this short still is a rather long one. It's about 40 minutes long and maybe it would have been better if at least 10 minutes from it were cut, in order to keep a better pace and to give the movie a more narrow and concentrated focus.

Not the perfect mockumentary but still good enough for a few genuine laughs.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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