Before Tyler Perry Ruined Everything, There Was ...
In each quarter, Monica and Q have to deal with problems that arise outside of their relationship: Monica's obsession with basketball colors the rest of her life around her. She has to balance her love of the game and her basketball career with her love life. Meanwhile, Q -- a natural talent destined for the NBA, just like his father (Dennis Haysbert) -- has to deal with some hard truths about the nature of his parent's relationship, truths that create within Quincy a lot of trust issues and reveal his own problems with self-esteem. He also has to contend with playing third-man to Monica's relationship with basketball, a commonality that brought them together, but often threatens to push them apart.
The film is largely told from Monica's point of view, and Prince-Bythewood -- directing from her own script -- manages to successfully mine the real conflict between romance and career. Lathan is perfectly cast, too. She's skinned-knee tough, temperamental as hell, and absolutely radiant, on the court and off. Epps -- with those soulful eyes and tenderhearted toughness -- offers a compelling and believable balance (although, his short stature often calls into question his ability as an NBA player).
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