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Rap stars moving into acting is nothing new, but Bow Wow would seem to have the makings of a real talent, even if he is largely playing himself here. Amidst the bright and breezy brashness of the story there are also touching moments, particularly the growing relationship between Bow Wow's Calvin and Morris Chestnut's grumpy Tracy and the desperation of the orphans to find a home, all handled well by director John Schultz. Like Mike could well have been inaccessible to audiences outside the US, but ended up as a universal tale of the underdog having his day.
On the DVD: Like Mike puts the success of the movie in America firmly in context, giving some idea of just what a big deal Lil Bow Wow is in his own country. There are two behind-the-scenes documentaries, one a fairly standard series of talking heads interviews, the other a rough and ready and ultimately more revealing piece from the film's acting coach, complemented by Schultz's audio commentary. The director's aim to combine sports, music and cinema is well supported by the film's bold audio and visual style--also featured in the promo video for the title track, proof that Bow Wow is a natural a rapper as he is an actor. --Phil Udell