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i can see a decent sports movie struggling to break free of oliver stone's `any given sunday' .
it's an entertaining movie that offers both insight and excitement into the rock-em , sock-em profession of pro football .
unfortunately , the director seems to have only one priority on his mind : sprucing up the film with an assortment of fancy camera maneuvers .
in altering each frame with quick-flash photography and dizzying , in-your-face editing , stone appears to have completely ignored the matter of plausible character development and football politics .
we see glimpses of greatness , but `any given sunday' has its agenda all tangled in technical gobbledy-gook .
it grows tiresome and monotonous .
yes , stone has pulled a brian depalma .
matters of importance are pushed aside right from the get-go .
tony d'amato ( al pacino ) , coach of the struggling miami sharks , finds his team stuck in a losing rut .
aging quarterback cap rooney ( dennis quaid ) appears to be losing his touch , and d'amato can't seem to ignite any passion in his squad .
when cap is injured on the field , and after a patch of unlikely events occur , third-string qb willie beaman ( jamie foxx ) is brought into the game .
once in the huddle ( and this becomes an in-game ritual ) , beaman horks all over the field .
nerves , you see .
eventually though , the ancy youngster wins the game for his teammates , sparking his rise to fame in the football world - the endorsements , the music videos , etc . - and stone straps us in for the jolting ride of behind-the-scenes stress and fury that the business is apparently like .
and i believe it .
there is some intriguing insight posed , but in the big scheme of things , stone fumbles the ball .
the problem with the director's visual approach is this : he uses extravagant editing devices when a more conventional approach would have been appropriate .
football is an exciting game to watch , but stone seems to think dizzying the audience with an assault on the senses will only add to the adrenaline rush .
i guess he is mistaken .
`any given sunday' is a visual kaleidoscope that leaves the audience in a frustrated stupor more frequently than it excites them .
many football fans ( including one i attended with ) are liable to be disappointed with the `ultra-stylish' way stone has decided to present the game .
in return , a three-star film becomes unfortunately degraded due to the director's tampering .
in welcome scenes when the visual pummeling comes to a break , this actually shows decent character development and interaction .
for instance , heated returns between d'amato and feisty young owner christina pagniacci ( cameron diaz ) are enjoyable to watch .
there is also a solid performance from jamie foxx , who experiments with great success in his first trek into dramatic territory .
the stellar supporting cast includes matthew modine , aaron eckhart , lauren holly , ann-margret and charlton heston ( in an extraordinarily brief appearance ) .
unfortunately , too many big names are wasted - a typical demise for a film with such a large and experienced cast .
pacino makes some interesting progress with his character .
you begin to identify with coach d'amato and the morals he is striving for . . . .
but i often felt he was just another play thing stone could weave in and out of his editing dynamics .
`any given sunday' is a watchable but disappointing sports film in which plot and characters take a back seat to excessive filmmaking technique .
and a very distant back seat , at that .