- 1 hr 44 min
The film is based somewhat on the true life events of Jim Ellis who is played by Terrence Howard. In 1974 blacks were still dealing with discrimination at pretty much every turn. Jim Ellis is a man with a college education who can not find a job. The Marcus Foster Recreation Center is in a state of shambles, and needs to be torn down. Jim takes on the job. The Philadelphia Department of Recreation wants the facility torn down, but Jim sees potential, and wants to recreate a viable recreation center for troubled youth. He is able to restore the swimming pool to its former glory. Elston is a grouchy old janitor who is played by Bernie Mac. At first Elston resents the work Jim is doing to the center, but they soon become close friends. Jim offers a group of black boys the opportunity to use the pool after they have been forced to leave the basketball courts of the Center's. The boys show ability as swimmers. With a little coaching and practice Jim feels they could be competitive swimmers. Jim wants to save the Center and starts the first African-American swimming team. Jim allows Willie, played by Regine Nehy to join the group. She is far more capable than the boys, and offers promise in competition against the more accomplished white team. The city councilor played by Kimberly Elise is one of the boys sister and guardian. Jim starts to show interest in her through the connection with the boys. Jim and Elston help the boys become a successful swim team by mentoring them through their practices. The Center becomes a refuge for the boys as they deal with life's prejudices, as well as their situations with crime and poverty. The drama slash family movie has a running time of one hour and forty-four minutes. It is rated PG and is considered appropriate for most viewing audiences.