Over the last decade or so, American comedies have dealt with just about every sport from Dodgeball ('Dodgeball') to figure skating ('Blades of Glory'), and in 'Gary the Tennis Coach', Seann William Scott strings up his racket to give "lady tennis" a go. The film focuses on Gary Houseman, a former young tennis star who has blown his chances of sporting glory, and has taken up the position of Janitor at an ordinary Nebraska high school. Gary's tennis skills are spotted, however, and he is asked to become assistant coach of the school tennis team, and soon takes over the job of head coach when (Gary's new-found idol) the likeable but, supremely unfit Coach Tuttle (an excellent turn from Randy Quaid) dies. It then becomes Gary's job to try to coach a team of mediocre kids (and one confused Phillipine ping-pong champion) to success. Scott puts in an excellent turn as Gary, (though the script never allows the character to develop as fully as he could); perfecting the balance between genuinely charming and faintly ridiculous, and the cast as a whole is good, especially Emilee Wallace, as Coach Tuttle's beautiful, earnest daughter Jenny.
The film's comedy, like it's quality of tennis, is a little bit hit and miss. The film's sub-plot, involving a confused athlete from the Philippines is almost painfully unfunny, but moments like Gary's attempt to communicate in painfully bad spanish to Miss Sanchez, the sexy Spanish teacher, make up for it. The film's comedy sometimes undercuts its more tender moments, which are actually handled surprisingly well, and suggest that Scott, lo-and-behold, might actually be decent in a serious role. At times things are a rather too predictable, and as mentioned above, one or two of the jokes and sub-plots fall flat, but 'Gary the Tennis Coach' is an engaging watch, with some good laughs, a few well-handled serious moments, and a set of underdogs you'll have no trouble cheering on.