“That’s sacred ground there, pal,” Vince Papale (Mark Walhberg) is cautioned as he steps onto the hallowed sod of the Philadelphia Eagles. In 1976, new NFL coach Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear) attempted to break the team’s longstanding loosing streak by holding open tryouts for the dispirited team.
Against all odds, including the cut throat derision of the “real” football players, the down-and-out bartender makes training camp. Vermeil, UCLA’s golden boy coach, finds himself working for the toughest fans in the NHL; Envy wrestles with hope amongst Papale’s friends. Soul and character win out for both, Papale makes the team and goes on to play three seasons with the Eagles.
In a movie, the beloved underdog always hits more neurotransmitters when it’s based on a real person. Complicity from the NHL and delicate camerawork on the field lend Invincible authenticity.
Greg Kinnear could hack the heads off babies and you’d still get all syrupy over his baby blues. Wahlberg’s everyman-makes-good musk, so pungent in Three Kings and Metal God, is so piquant one can abhor football and still find Invincible inspiring.
© Skylaire Alfvegren written for and published by E! Online