Kevin James to Suit Up for Inspirational Football Movie ‘44’
A firm believer that it’s never too late to teach an old dog some new tricks, a 44-year-old Tennessee man named Joey Williams returned to college in 2003 to complete the degree he never finished. While enrolled at Jackson, Tennessee’s own Lambuth University, he decided to get the full collegiate experience by joining the football team as a lineman and playing alongside the young bucks — one of whom, in a stranger-than-fiction twist, just so happened to be Williams’ son. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of playing college ball that was once stymied by a busted knee in his senior year of high school, Williams provided NPR with an inspirational human-interest story for their segment “A Lineman At 44.”
And now, with Kevin James poised to portray Joey Williams, his heartwarming story of perseverance and triumph shall be adapted into a feature film titled Paul Blart: Inspirational Football Cop (the film is actually titled 44). The Hollywood Reporter ran a new item this morning indicating that Alcon Entertainment, the same team that launched The Blind Side to a baffling $309 million box office draw, will produce this feel-good film. As for the script, Christopher Parker will mold the NPR story into the 44 screenplay. Parker’s most recent credit was the religious drama / cinematic chain letter Heaven Is for Real, so make of that what you will.
Audiences tend to respond positively to positive stories, regardless of critical consensus, so perhaps this represents a can’t-fail proposition for Alcon. Neither James nor Parker have a recent track record suggesting this will be a great artistic achievement, but I suppose not everything has to be Citizen Kane. Sometimes the people simply want to sit back, relax, and watch Paul Blart desperately flail around on a football field.