Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Sean Daly
    This entry in a rather stale genre deserves to be put at the head of the class.
  2. 75
    Jackson has the usual big speeches assigned to all coaches in all sports movies, and delivers on them, big time. His passion makes familiar scenes feel new.
  3. Reviewed by: Sid Smith
    A true story, feel-good parable and a respectable, uplifting descendent of "To Sir, With Love" and "Lean On Me."
  4. 75
    Descended from a long and healthy line of high school-sports and academic-achievement films, a hip-hop "Hoosiers" bolstered by a generous helping of "Stand and Deliver" and "Lean On Me."
  5. By turns funny, touching and genuinely inspiring.
  6. It's fair to say that Coach Carter is more an education film than it is a sports movie.
  7. Reviewed by: Sara Brady
    A sports flick that’s a worthy addition to the genre.
  8. Reviewed by: James Wegg
    Unfortunately, the accompanying story threads tend to bog down the action rather than provide contrast between the games.
  9. 70
    Coach Carter, its flaws aside, is as interesting for what it doesn't do as for what it does.
  10. Jackson's wonderfully nuanced, witty performance, and a few unexpected plot turns, give Coach Carter a subtext that helps complicate such knee-jerk oversimplifications, redeeming the role with energetic humor and a loose-limbed grace.
  11. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Both an inspirational sports movie and an unexpected multi-level urban drama that plays by its own clock.
  12. Covers every cliche in the Hollywood sports movie playbook, but it also makes the routine much more enjoyable than you'd expect.
  13. While the movie may border on teen exploitation in many scenes, its heart and values are mostly in the right place, and it qualifies its thrill of victory with a very sober message: few high school athletes become NBA millionaires, many are cheated out of an education.
  14. 63
    Who's it for? How do you put this message across without it seeming medicinal? Sure, MTV is among the movie's producers, but what 11th grader wants to spend a Friday night being hit with such a blunt instrument?
  15. When [Jackcson]'s not on camera, Coach Carter feels like the two-hour opus it is — too long, too banal, a bit ridiculous. But when he is, nothing else seems to matter, and how sublime is that.
  16. Thanks mainly to his (Jackson) considerable presence, Coach Carter works more effectively than expected.
  17. 60
    Delivers its commendable message with affecting eloquence.
  18. Reviewed by: Simon Braund
    It's a good story, well told.
  19. 60
    The corniness and predictability feel, if not quite fresh, then not so groaningly stale.
  20. This may be the coach's story, but to the extent that Coach Carter is interesting rather than merely inspirational, it's because of the team.
  21. A smart entertainment that trades on Mr. Jackson's forceful presence, a cast of extremely likable young actors and lots of basketball action.
  22. Jackson, though, does lend this earnest formula flick a core of conviction.
  23. The movie's moral messages are all on target. Too bad the movie is much, much too long and Jackson gives one of his dullest performances ever.
  24. Reviewed by: Debra Birnbaum
  25. Features bursts of humor and electrifying energy offset by speechifying and a dud of a subplot.
  26. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    2-1/4 hours of MTV-produced tough love, with a dance break and pool party to relieve -- momentarily -- a series of motivational rants from lead Samuel L. Jackson.
  27. 50
    The main problem with Coach Carter can be summed up simply: too much sermonizing.
  28. 50
    As it goes on and on and on, Coach Carter becomes more patience-testing than soul-stirring, proving that you can overdose on good intentions as easily as you can on evil substances.
  29. 50
    Coach Carter eventually curdles into a grim love letter to discipline and accountability, which makes it the perfect sports film for W.'s second term, but not a whole lot of fun.
  30. Reviewed by: David Blaylock
    Proudly wearing its self-righteousness like a letterman jacket, Coach Carter's just an exasperatingly long "The More You Know" commercial starring one first-stringer and the junior varsity.
  31. 50
    Director Thomas Carter (no relation to Ken) relies on processed emotion and stock characters, and not even the inevitable Big Game excites us very much.
  32. So, while the movie at times warmed my own middle-class, private school-educated cockles to a toasty complacency, there's an undercurrent of friendly fascism running through it like a nasty draft.
  33. 50
    In the end I couldn't be sure whether its morality was complex or just confused. Like its young athletes, it earns a gentleman's C.
  34. The script is really the heart of the problem.
  35. 38
    This afternoon-TV special trying to pass as a real movie earns an extra half star solely for Samuel L. Jackson, who brings his usual fire to the role.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 79 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 39
  2. Negative: 2 out of 39
  1. Sep 7, 2014
    "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Timo Cruz

    That's a movie, really. It's one of the most moving films I've seen. This movie really worth seeing. Samuel L Jackson plays the role very well.
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 18, 2013
    It's one of the most inspiring movies. Student comes first. Everything in the movie was good. The characters fitted their roles, there is a sense of excitement in watching this. We'll all learn from it. Full Review »
  3. Jun 8, 2013
    Yes, the movie may be a bit cliche, but all sports movies ultimately are. At the end of the day, it's a very good film with an even better message. Samuel L. Jackson is great in the lead role and his performance is certainly one of the many bright spots in this film. Full Review »