Gunnin' for That #1 Spot



All too familiar to anyone who's seen the innumerable indie sports documentaries that have cluttered the multiplexes in recent years, this sophomore effort from Beastie Boy Adam Yauch ("Awesome: I F***in' Shot That!") centers on the Elite 24, an annual basketball competition held in Harlem's famed Rucker Park.

Concentrating on eight of the 24 top-ranked high school players from around the country who participated in the 2006 edition, "Gunnin' for That #1 Spot" doesn't leave any cliched stone unturned, from its inspirational portraits of the good-hearted, ambitious teens to the ubiquitous hip-hop soundtrack that accompanies the action (including, amusing, a snippet of the Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right to Party").

Lacking the depth of the similarly themed "Hoop Dreams," this generally lighthearted film tediously depicts the predictable back stories of the players, from interviews with coaches, family members and other related figures to revelations of how they are courted by sneaker companies, colleges, etc., despite being barely out of puberty.

None of the teenage subjects (who include the nephew of Beach Boy Mike Love) proves particularly memorable, but it probably won't matter to basketball fans, who will relish the extensive game footage on display. The filmmaker attempts to add low-budget stylization to the video-shot proceedings via an assortment of frenetic camera and editing tricks that ultimately are more needlessly distracting than visually enhancing.